It is known fact that body cells grow and die in a controlled way naturally. But cancer cells keep forming without control.
Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that kills fast-growing cells in your body through medicines. Chemotherapy is most often used to treat cancer, since cancer cells grow and multiply much more quickly than most cells in the body.
In people with cancer, chemotherapy may be used:
- To eliminate the unwanted cells: Chemotherapy is used as the cancer treatment. In some cases, chemotherapy is used with the goal of curing your cancer. In other cases, chemotherapy may be used with the aim of slowing the cancer’s growth.
- Adjuvant therapy: Chemotherapy can be used after other treatments, such as radiation, to eliminate any cancer cells that might remain in the body.
- Neo adjuvant therapy: Chemotherapy can be used to shrink a tumor so that other treatments, such as radiation and surgery, are possible.
- Palliative chemotherapy: Chemotherapy may help relieve signs and symptoms of advanced cancer, such as pain. This is called palliative chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy as a treatment for conditions other than cancer
Some chemotherapy drugs have proved useful in treating other conditions, such as:
- Bone marrow diseases: Diseases that affect the bone marrow and blood cells may be treated with a bone marrow stem cell transplant. Chemotherapy is often used to prepare for a bone marrow stem cell transplant.
- Immune system disorders: Lower doses of chemotherapy drugs can help control the immune system in certain diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.