Sunday, July 20, 2014

Oral Chemotherapy

A Glance at Oral Chemotherapy 

        I decided to focus more on the topic of cancer and the possible cures for it since we discussed it in class during one of our molecules.This has become a very touching subject for me because over the past year my grandmother was diagnosed with colon cancer and had to begin a treatment for it. We knew she would have to go through chemotherapy but she did a type I had never heard of before, oral chemotherapy

In case you are curious as to how chemotherapy effects your cells, here's a short video I found interesting and educating on the point! 

                                                  Oral chemotherapy is a treatment used to shrink a tumor and/or kill cancer cells. Oral chemo is typically taken in a pill form (also known as a capsule.) This type of treatment is not available for all types of cancer, but it can be a very effective treatment if used and taken in the proper way. There are multiple side effects that can occur while taken any form of oral chemotherapy. You will find that the side effects are nearly identical to the side effects of the IV chemo because they are both systemic treatments. Systemic treatments go through your entire body in an attempt to kill the cells effected my cancer. Unfortunately, this also leads to healthy cells being attacked and this can lead to the side effects in the above chart. 

Over the past year, I have done some researching on these different types drugs used for oral chemotherapy. This has helped me gain a greater understanding of the treatment, and of cancer in general. 

Here are some of the most common types: 

*Xeloda- Used to treat breast cancer, colon cancer, and colorectal cancers. 
(This is the type that my grandma used for her treatment! On a side note, she was just happy she didn't loose her hair! :) She was very lucky because hair lose is a side effect.)

*Cytoxan- used for a wide variety of cancers. These include breast cancer, leukemia, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, lung cancer, multiple myeloma and ovarian cancer.

*Toposar- used to treat prostate cancer, Kaposi's sarcoma, small cell lung cancer and lymphoma. 

*Navelbind- used to treat non-small cell lung cancer and breast cancer. 

I am lucky enough to sit here and tell you today that my grandmother is a fighter and she is still with us today. She has been cancer free for a few months now. We had a bit of a scare last month when the doctors explained to us that they saw "something" irregular in her lungs. After a very long weekend of assuming the worst, we found out that it was just infection from when she had the cancer around her colon. It's kinda gross and still not the greatest situation, but we are so thankful she is still cancer free! :) 

If you read about this type of treatment you will see there is quite a bit of negative feedback about it but if you look over those, there is also a very good amount of positives regarding it. Hopefully you never have to make a decision concerning a cancer treatment, but if you do make sure you find EVERYTHING there is to know about your different options before making that decision! 

The American Cancer Society is a great source to read about oral chemotherapy and somewhere to learn about the side effects and steps to take. Here is a link to this material:

1 comment:

  1. I am happy to hear that your Grandma is currently cancer free! This was unique to read because I had never heard about oral chemotherapy before. I understand that the treatment amounts would be different depending on the type of cancer and the severity but do you know how the treatment compares to other chemotherapy? Do the pills have to be taken more often that it would be to sit and have a regular treatment? Is the success rate for oral treatment close to that of the other? I was just curious what the differences are beside taking a pill or having an IV?