Chemotherapy is often one of the most dreaded treatment procedures of any form of cancer. But it is also regarded as the most effective treatment of cancer. In the case of mesothelioma cancer, various medical specialists and researchers have come up with effective mesothelioma chemotherapy procedures to kill the harmful cancerous cells and slow down the growth of the tumor. But, www.cancerresearchuk.org/ also admits the hard truth that chemotherapy can also kill normal cells in the process and hence cause some side effects too.
Why Do Such Side Effects happen?
We often can’t help but wonder why such side effects happen in the treatment of cancer. Why should they kill normal cells too? These are some common questions that would cross the mind of anyone affected or has a near one suffering from mesothelioma cancer. Any drug used for chemotherapy has only one basic purpose. That purpose is to attack the cancerous cells and stop them from multiplying at a fast rate and control the growth of tumor. The cancer cells are one of the fastest dividing cells in the whole of the human body. Other fast dividing cells of the human body are skin cells, mouth cells, hair cells and bone marrow cells. When the chemotherapy drug acts on the body, they mistake these cells of the body also as cancer cells due to its fast dividing nature. Hence, they end up killing these normal cells too. This cause side effects like mouth sores, hair loss, etc. as these drugs act on mouth cells or hair cells along with the cancer cells. A point of relief, in this case, is that the side effects are only temporary. It will fade away as soon as the patient starts recovering from the chemotherapy treatments.
The Common Side Effects
The side effects often vary from person to person. It depends on the type of drug used and dosage of the drug used. It also depends on the individual diagnosis of the patient, the extent of tumor growth, the stage of cancer and the rate of growth of the cancer cells. The most common side effect is the loss of hair due to damage of hair cells. Some drugs attack the mouth cells and result in mouth sores. Other common side effects are fatigue, vomiting and nausea. But, the side effects always vary from one person to another. While one may have severe hair loss and nausea, other may not have any side effect at all. Different drugs have different action too.
Chemotherapy Drugs Side Effects
The drugs used for chemotherapy are classified based on the way in which they tend to attack the cancer cells. Each drug stops the replication of cancer cells differently. Drugs classified as antimetabolites mainly interferes with DNA and RNA replication process within the cancer cells. This stops the multiplication of cells and eventually causes the death of cancer cells. Two commonly used antimetabolites are pemetrexed(Alimta) and gemcitabine(Gemzar). These two often causes side effects like diarrhea, nausea, constipation, vomiting, loss of appetite, hair loss, mouth sores, change in taste and fatigue.