All About Chemotherapy And Its Importance In Cancer Treatment
Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill rapidly growing cells inside the body. It is commonly used to treat cancer in the case where the cell is growing uncontrollably. Chemotherapy is used for various cancer types as first-line treatment or in combination with radiation therapy or surgery. A wide range of chemo drugs is used for different types of cancer and its different stages alone or in combination.
It is the treatment used to kill cancerous cells where no other treatment methods are sufficient. A single chemotherapy dose kills only a portion of cancer cells forming tumors. So, repeated doses of chemotherapy are required in cyclic intervals according to the cancer type and stage. The frequency of the cycle is determined by many factors such as the pre-planned chemo schedule, toxicity, patients’ response to the drugs, etc can be used as a solo treatment also, and in some cases, it is applied after surgery like adjuvant therapy.
Cases Where Chemotherapy Is Applicable
- It is highly effective for more than half of the cancer types, basically in primary treatments
- There are more than 100 powerful drugs used to kill the cancer cell, lowers its symptoms, and slows its growth in the body.
- It is used after other cancer treatments to destroy hidden cancerous cells that may remain in the body.
- It is also used to reduce the tumor before other treatments
- Chemotherapy can reveal signs and symptoms after killing the affected cell.
- It is used to stop the recurrence of cancer after radiotherapy or surgery.
How Chemotherapy Works In The Body
Chemotherapy drugs are administrated through injection, oral in case of pills or liquid drugs. Because it circulates throughout the body in the bloodstream, it can treat cancer anywhere in the body. After administration, it starts shrinking the tumor cell that makes it smaller and easy to remove. It is working in different ways to kill cancer cells as attacking DNA cancerous cells, reduce its growth, and suppress tumor size. Other drugs that bind to the DNA and stops the unwinding process, which forms new identical copies. In the end, it directly attacks RNA and DNA to discontinue the growth of the tumor cell.
Chemotherapy, as a part of treatment, depends on the type of cancer, its size, origin, and spread. Chemotherapy treatment is applied to cure and reduce the chance of its reappearance and to stop tumor cell growth. Because a healthy body is continuously dividing cells as per requirement, but in the case of tumor cells, it divides uncontrolled.
It is a sensitive treatment as it requires special care before and after surgery. The goal behind this treatment relies on various factors like cancer types, pre-medical history, patient age, and some others. Here are some vital elements-
- To cure cancer which is continuously dividing in the body.
- Reducing the growth of cancer that limits its reach to the other parts of the body
- To arise its signs and symptoms which makes it easy to identify
- It is done to check the effect of chemotherapy treatment whether its working or not
How often you receive Chemotherapy Treatments?
The Oncologist decides how often you are going to undergo radiation therapies depending on what drugs you are going to take, the cancer symptoms, and how much your body responds after each treatment. Timeframes for chemotherapy treatment vary. Treatment with chemotherapy can be continuous, or it can alternate between treatment periods and rest periods to help you recover.
Chemotherapy cost In India
When we talk about quality various types of cancer treatments in case of brain tumor, thorax cancer, breast cancer, abdomen cancer, renal cancer, it ranges roughly around seven lacks to 10 lacks. It includes all the procedures like diagnosis, chemotherapy treatment, and medications. Its costs may reach 16 lacks in the case of breast and brain tumors. After splitting the chemotherapy treatment cost-
- PET scan costs approx. 30000, may increase or decrease as tumor size
- Lung Biopsy can cost 2000
- One chemotherapy round costs around 75000, minimum 5 to 6 rounds in a treatment
- In radiation procedure- 40000
- Lodging and food cost at the hospital per day- 5000
- Other costs like blood units and medications per day cost around 5000
Collectively the sum up is around ten lacks, but may vary as per hospital type, stage of cancer, age of the cancer patient, tumor size, and various other issues related to the cancer treatment.
What is the Average Cost of Chemotherapy Treatment in India?
The approximate cost of eight weeks of chemotherapy might vary somewhere between Rs 20,000 to Rs 18, 000,00. Treatment with a few inexpensive drugs like 5-FU or leucovorin will cost approximately Rs 20,000 for eight weeks of therapy. However, mostly for improved therapeutic effects, these inexpensive drugs are often used in combination with some of the newly developed drugs which are expensive and it can add up the cost differently as per the drug.
Which factors affect Chemotherapy Treatment Cost?
- Chemotherapy treatment cost depends on several factors.
- Mainly choice of drugs accounts for the main cost of chemotherapy.
- Then come frequency and duration for which therapy is taken which finally decides the cost of therapy.
- Hospital charges are charged differently depending upon the type of facilities they provide.
- Some of the government hospitals might provide the treatment as an out-patient regimen and hence would certainly charge less.
- Depending upon the type of cancer the approximate chemotherapy cost might range between Rs 3,000,00 to Rs 20,000,00 (US$ 3000 TO US$ 30,000) considering all different factors.
- Over time with newly coming drugs and techniques the pricing does vary a bit however the overall treatment is effective and can even be reimbursed via insurance.
Is there any hidden cost involved in chemotherapy treatment?
Chemotherapy treatment cost involves mainly the drug cost, which is used for the treatment. Besides that, there are several medical bills involved which are a fraction of the total financial chemotherapy treatment cost like travel or commuting to the hospital, diagnostics, and testing during the treatment, etc.
Prescription refilling from time to time also adds up to the main chemotherapy treatment cost. It might lead to financial toxicity if the patient can’t afford refills during the later stages of the treatment. So for managing its treatment cost, careful planning is required.
Nowadays several online portals are available which assist in all matters related to cancer treatment from finding the best hospital to the best possible procedure for the particular type of cancer. So it avoids visiting every single hospital and helps in managing the extra cost of the treatment.
How to pay for chemotherapy?
At times insurance companies do reject payments for some of the newly expensive chemotherapeutic drugs as their cost-cutting methods. So, it is advisable to get a beforehand detailed discussion with your insurance provider. Moreover, several pharmaceutical companies and hospitals offer support programs to help patients who can make up this chemotherapy treatment cost a little light on their pocket in terms of affordability.
Chemotherapy Treatment in India for International Patients
India is one of those fastest-growing medical tourism destinations where the best cancer treatment is available at a very affordable cost. A huge number of international as well as national patients get treated for cancer with chemotherapy every year in India.
It varies slightly depending upon the exact drugs used and the number of rounds required to treat cancer. Still, chemotherapy treatment cost in India is economical along with all facilities and availability of best drugs as well as doctors. This mainly brings medical tourism patients in India from several developed countries like the USA, Europe, the Middle East, and from countries that have limited resources like Bangladesh, Africa, Sri Lanka, etc. Chemotherapy for Cancer Patients in India is one of the reasons patients travel to India since the lates medicines are available in India
Side effects of chemotherapy are significant as each drug has different side effects and not every drug causes every side effect.
Chemotherapy Side Effects
Common side effects of chemotherapy drugs comprise:
- Nausea- it is advised to eat light meals after the procedure because it may cause nausea. Nausea is an unpleasant condition that causes sensation and discomfort in the chest and abdomen that results in vomiting.
- Vomiting- some drugs may cause and nausea effects. Vomiting cannot be considered as a disease and cannot create any type of pain. It can cause weakness due to excess water loss
- Diarrhea- it is advised to take low-calorie foods because of weak digestion after the treatment. Diarrhea is a condition where watery tools in more than one times in a day. It is a common problem and lasts a short time.
- Hair loss- people may experience hair loss after chemotherapy due to drugs. In some cases, facial hair or eyebrows are also losses.
- Mouth sores- some cancer treatment drugs may cause mouth ulcers, wounds, or infections due to radiation therapy.
- Bleeding problems- in the chemotherapy process, blood components like platelets dropped as bleeding problems may occur after a minor cut.
- Infertility- chemotherapy may reduce libido that causes an inability to produce offspring. Because cancer therapy may lower the sex life in men and women.
Frequent visits to the Oncologist on the scheduled day during Chemotherapy treatment helps to know about any side effects experienced as many can be controlled. Depending on the response to Chemotherapy, scans and other tests are undertaken to monitor the progress. It gives an idea about the response and thus the treatment can be manipulated
It is the latest cancer treatment in which treatment is done at the molecular level. Surgery and all other related procedures are also useful, but chemotherapy can destroy every single cancerous cell. It is considered as a complete cancer therapy except for some toxic side effects. Some are short term effects, and few can be appeared a few months after treatment. Due to all these factors, it is essential to monitor regularly after the procedure.
Cancer Rounds is a known organization to provide solutions for chemotherapy for cancer patients in India as the team onboarded by Cancer Rounds comes with 20 years of average experience.