Sunday, February 25, 2024

Physical Signs Chemo Is Working

Which Cancer Has The Highest Recurrence Rate

Cancer Treatment: Chemotherapy

Cancers with the highest recurrence rates include:

With recurrent breast cancer, most local recurrences happen within five years after treatment of an initial tumor, according to the Susan G. Komen organization. The risk for distant or metastasized recurrence remains the same whether you had a lumpectomy and radiation therapy or a mastectomy.

According to Susan G. Komen:

  • If you had a lumpectomy and radiation therapy, the risk of local recurrence within 10 years ranges from 3 percent to 15 percent.
  • If you had a mastectomy and no cancer cells were found in the underarm lymph nodes, the risk of local recurrence within five years is estimated to be about 6 percent. If you had a mastectomy but no radiation therapy as part of your treatment, and cancer was found in those nodes, the risk of recurrence in five years rises to 23 percent . However, the risk may be shrunk to about 6 percent with the addition of radiation therapy to your treatment.

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Sexuality And Intimacy Issues

Interest in sexual intimacy often decreases for chemotherapy patients for many reasons, including additional stress and the side effects of treatment. Being diagnosed with cancer can change not only your body, but your relationship with yourself, and your relationship with others. Learning to trusting your body again, regain a positive self-image, and reconnecting to your sexual self can feel challenging. When you are ready to engage in sexual activity, try to sustain open communication with partners, and consider taking the following actions:

  • Make time for rest before and after sexual activity to preserve energy.
  • Experiment to find comfortable positions and avoid those that will tire you quickly.
  • Remember, intimacy can mean more than intercourse the goal is for you to be able to enjoy sex and intimacy in the ways you want, and how you feel most comfortable.

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Can Side Effects Of Chemotherapy Be Treated

Yes. Your health care team can help prevent or treat many side effects. Today, many more medications are available to relieve side effects than in the past. Preventing and treating side effects is called palliative care or supportive care. It is an important part of cancer treatment at any stage.

Doctors and scientists are always working to develop drugs, drug combinations, and ways of giving treatment with fewer side effects. Many types of chemotherapy now bring less side effects than even a few years ago.

How Does Chemotherapy Work Does It Kill Cancer Cells

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Chemotherapy drugs work by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells. These medications target cells that grow and divide quickly.

Unlike surgery or radiation therapy which targets specific areas, chemotherapy treatment can work throughout the body. Therefore, chemotherapy drugs can also affect fast-growing healthy cells, such as cells in the skin, hair, intestines, and bone marrow.

Thats why chemo causes side effects like hair loss, nausea, vomiting, appetite changes, anemia, and easy bleeding.

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What Are Side Effects

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the two most common types of cancer treatment. They work by destroying these fast-growing cells. But other types of fast-growing healthy cells also can be damaged along with cancer cells, causing adverse reactions, or side effects.

Side effects can range from tiredness and nausea to hair loss and blood clotting problems. Because each person responds a little differently to treatment and it’s hard for doctors to predict exactly how the body will react, they’ll closely watch a child who is being treated for cancer. Doctors weigh the amount and severity of side effects against the benefits of treatments.

Fortunately, most side effects are temporary. As the body’s normal cells recover, these problems start to go away. There are also good supportive treatments that can lessen the side effects.

Side effects vary:

  • Some can be merely unpleasant, while others can be much more serious.
  • Some show up right away, while others develop over time.
  • Some kids have just a few, while others have many over the course of treatment.

Practical Hints For Fatigue

  • Plan your activities, such as grocery shopping, for a time when you feel the best.
  • If you have children, rest when they are napping. When you feel most tired, consider hiring a babysitter for a few hours so that you can relax or take a nap.
  • Take naps early in the day so you do not disturb your sleep pattern at night.
  • Consider exercising every day or several times a week. Good forms of exercise include swimming, walking and yoga. Contact the Patient and Family Cancer Support Center for information on free exercise classes.

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Practical Hints For Nausea

  • Eat a small, light meal before your chemotherapy appointment. Most people do better if they have something in their stomach.
  • Eat what sounds good to you. In general, starches such as rice, bread, potatoes, hot cereals and puddings are well tolerated.
  • Try not to skip meals. An empty stomach will worsen all symptoms. If you don’t feel like sitting down to a meal, try nibbling on something that appeals to you.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Herbal teas, water, sports drinks and diluted juices are recommended more than soda.
  • Avoid unappealing smells.
  • Freeze meals so you don’t have to cook. Ask your family and friends to help with meals, especially following chemotherapy when you are most likely to feel nauseated.

For more practical tips on dealing with nausea, schedule a free appointment with the dietitian by contacting the Patient and Family Cancer Support Center.

Table : Cbc With Results And Reference Interval

A Day In The Life Of A Cancer Patient | Chemotherapy Infusion

Result column: The result column shows counts that fall within the normal range.

Flag column: The flag column shows counts that are lower or higher than the normal range.

Reference interval column: The reference interval shows the normal range for each measurement for the lab performing the test. Different labs may use different reference intervals.

White blood cells: White blood cells help protect individuals from infections. The above CBC report shows that the patients total white cell count is 1.5, which is lower than the normal range of 4.0-10.5. The low white cell count increases the risk of infection.

Absolute neutrophil count: Neutrophils are the main white blood cell for fighting or preventing bacterial or fungal infections. In the CBC report, neutrophils may be referred to as polymorphonuclear cells or neutrophils. The absolute neutrophil count is a measure of the total number of neutrophils present in the blood. When the ANC is less than 1,000, the risk of infection increases. The ANC can be calculated by multiplying the total WBC by the percent of polymorphonuclear cells. For example, this patients ANC is 0.34, which equals 1.5 x 23%.

Red blood cells: Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. The above CBC report indicates that the patient has a red cell count of 3.5, which is lower than the normal range of 4.70-6.10, and therefore, shown in the flag column.

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How Often You Receive Chemotherapy

Treatment schedules for chemotherapy vary widely. How often and how long you get chemotherapy depends on

  • your type of cancer and how advanced it is
  • whether chemotherapy is used to
  • cure your cancer
  • the type of chemotherapy you are getting
  • how your body responds to the chemotherapy
  • You may receive chemotherapy in cycles. A cycle is a period of chemotherapy treatment followed by a period of rest. For instance, you might receive chemotherapy every day for 1 week followed by 3 weeks with no chemotherapy. These 4 weeks make up one cycle. The rest period gives your body a chance to recover and build new healthy cells.

    Late Effects Of Surgery

    The effects of surgery depend on the area of the body where the surgery is performed. Risks have been lessened by new and improved surgical methods but late effects may still occur.

    A tumor may affect healthy tissue as it grows if it damages or kills normal cells. Damage can also occur if the healthy tissue around a tumor is removed during surgery. This might be done to make certain that all of the cancer cells are removed and thus may be necessary for appropriate cancer treatment. Late effects of surgery include:

    • Scarring at the surgical site.
    • Problems fighting infection.
    • Cognitive problems such as trouble focusing or memory loss.
    • Changes in sexual function or fertility.
    • Pain that may be chronic or long term.
    • Difficulty with speech or swallowing.

    Physical changes can also bring emotional aftereffects. This can happen even if others cannot see the changes. For example, a survivor could feel self-conscious about a scar, even if it is hidden by clothing. There may be concerns about body image.

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    How Many Chemo Treatments Before You See Results

    Cancer care is highly individualized, and it is impossible to predict an exact timeline or say how many chemotherapy treatments a particular patient will need.

    Your chemotherapy plan will depend on the type of cancer you have, where it is located in your body, the stage of your cancer, the type of chemotherapy medications being used , and the reason for the chemotherapy treatment . It will also depend on your other health conditions and general health status.

    Your oncologist will adjust the treatment plan based on how your cancer responds to the chemotherapy . The number of chemo treatments will also depend on how well you tolerate the first and subsequent treatments.

    Your oncologist and oncology nurse will help you understand the exact treatment plan before your first chemotherapy appointment.

    What Are Cancer Symptoms

    Acute appendicitis presenting as pneumoperitoneum in a teenage boy ...

    Cancer is a complicated disease. You can have cancer for years without developing symptoms. Other times, cancer may cause noticeable symptoms that get worse very quickly. Many cancer symptoms resemble other, less serious illnesses. Having certain symptoms doesnt mean you have cancer. In general, you should talk to a healthcare provider anytime theres a change in your body that lasts for more than two weeks.

    First symptoms of cancer

    • Fever that occurs mostly at night.
    • Skin changes, particularly moles that change shape and size or new moles.

    Left untreated, cancer may cause additional symptoms, including:

    • Bruising or bleeding more easily.
    • Lumps or bumps under your skin that dont go away.
    • Difficulty breathing.
    • Difficulty swallowing.

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    What You Can Do

    We know it isnt easy, but try to make a few changes so you don’t get too exhausted. See if you can reduce your working hours, if you have a job. Ask your family or friends to help with chores, and have your shopping delivered if you can.

    If you have to look after children, try to arrange help with childcare on chemotherapy days and for a couple of days afterwards. Your health visitor might be able to help with arranging childminding or nursery places.

    If you are looking after children, try and get them to do something relatively quiet that you can join in with or encourage from the sofa. Drawing you a picture, playing a board game, watching TV together or cheering them on with their console games will keep them busy without you having to do too much.

    Your GP might be able to give you some mild sleeping pills if youre having trouble sleeping.

    Research has shown that gentle exercise can help reduce tiredness and improve mental wellbeing. Listen to your body and take things at your own pace.

    How Do Healthcare Providers Treat Cancer

    Healthcare providers may use several different treatments, sometimes combining treatments based on your situation. Common cancer treatments include:

    What are cancer treatment side effects?

    Healthcare providers work to balance the treatment so it destroys cancer without harmful or lasting side effects. Even so, all cancer treatments have side effects. Some treatments cause side effects that last for years after treatment is completed. Many people benefit from palliative care that eases cancer symptoms and treatment side effects. The most common cancer treatment side effects are:

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    What Are Some General Signs And Symptoms Of Cancer

    Most signs and symptoms are not caused by cancer but can be caused by other things. If you have any signs and symptoms that don’t go away or get worse, you should see a doctor to find out whats causing them. If cancer is not the cause, a doctor can help figure out what the cause is and treat it, if needed.

    For instance, lymph nodes are part of the bodys immune system and help capture harmful substances in the body. Normal lymph nodes are tiny and can be hard to find. But when theres infection, inflammation, or cancer, the nodes can get larger. Those near the bodys surface can get big enough to feel with your fingers, and some can even be seen as swelling or a lump under the skin. One reason lymph nodes may swell is if cancer gets trapped there. So, if you have unusual swelling or a lump, you should see your doctor to figure out whats going on.

    Here are some of the more common signs and symptoms that may be caused by cancer. However, any of these can be caused by other problems as well.

    Sometimes, its possible to find cancer before you have symptoms. The American Cancer Society and other health groups recommend cancer-related check-ups and certain tests for people even though they have no symptoms. This helps find certain cancers early. You can find more information on early detection at the American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer.

    What Are The Signs Of Infection

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    Cancer and its treatments weaken the body’s immune system. This makes it more likely that you will develop an infection. An infection occurs when bacteria, viruses, or fungi invade the body.

    Common types of infections that need immediate medical attention include:

    • Pneumonia, which starts in the lungs

    • Urinary tract infection, which can start in the bladder or kidneys

    • Blood infections, which are most common in people with low white blood cell counts or an implanted catheter

    Infection during cancer treatment can be life threatening. Your health care team will help you determine if the infection is serious and how best to manage your symptoms.

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    Six Ways To Stay Strong During Chemo

    You are probably aware that chemotherapy is one of the most common cancer treatments, and that it may cause side effects such as hair loss, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, swelling, and digestive problems. But did you know how important it is to be proactive about keeping your body and mind strong during treatment? Here are six ways to keep your body healthy during chemotherapy treatment:

  • Boost your nutrition. Eating a healthy diet helps you deal with side effects and fight infections. If you experience nausea, lack of appetite, or other eating problems, discuss solutions with your doctor or nurse navigator.
  • Stay well hydrated. Chemotherapy can be dehydrating. Drinking plenty of water before and after treatment helps your body process chemotherapy drugs and flush the excess out of your system.
  • Tackle physical changes. If your hair starts falling out, go shopping for a wig or buy a few stylish hats to keep your head warm. Ask your nurse navigator or oncology infusion center nurse for information about community and/or national resources for wigs or headwear. Minimize mouth sores by brushing, with a soft toothbrush, after every meal and rinsing your mouth several times a day, but avoid mouthwashes containing alcohol as these may be irritating. Soothe dry skin with body lotion and lip balm.
  • Keep exercising. Physical activityeven as little as three 10-minute walks a daycan improve your appetite and emotional state. Ask your doctor whats safe for you.
  • Problems With Thinking And Remembering Things

    The drugs used to treat cancer can cause some people to have trouble concentrating or remembering things. This is often called chemo brain, and it can make it hard for cancer patients to do their jobs or everyday tasks.

    Tips for coping with this problem include getting plenty of sleep, making notes of your daily plans and setting reminders on your smart phone, and focusing on one task instead of trying to do several things at the same time.

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