Chemotherapy of cancer and a new discovery!
Generally, we denote the term chemotherapy only as for the treatment of cancer but indeed chemotherapy refers to the use of any drug to treat any disease and sometimes it's shortened to "chemo".
If cancer affects any specific area, oncologist (cancer specialist or doctor) may apply surgery and radiation therapy to remove, kill or damage cancer cells. But if cancer spread over whole body chemo is usually applied because it can kill cancer cells that have spread far away from the original tumor.
Nowadays more than hundred chemotherapy or chemo drugs are utilized to combat against cancer. Several drug groups like anti-tumor antibiotics, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, mitotic inhibitors, corticosteroids etc. these can be applied as a combination with other drugs or treatment of a drug alone.
It is most often provided as intravenously (in vain) by inserting a catheter or by a device in a vein of the patient's chest. By the way, some drugs are prescribed as a pill or capsule form, creams, shots etc. Types of cancer, stage of cancer, health condition, treatment history etc. these are the factors which make sure whether one should take chemo or not.
Chemo works through targeting different phases of new cell formation called cell cycle. Cancer cells proliferate more quickly than body's normal cell, this fact makes them a better target for chemotherapy drugs. Unfortunately, these drugs can't tell the difference between healthy cells and cancer cells that is why body's normal cells are damaged along with the cancer cell, as a result, causes the side effects.
Cancer therapy causes a lot of side effect such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, mouth sores, pain, constipation etc. Hopefully, these side effects can be minimized through treatment and usually recover after one or two months, though the process is so slow.
However, the common question among people is "why cancer therapy causes hair to lose?". Both men and women who are attacked by cancer and suggested for chemo, mostly fear about hair loss as side effect. The answer lies in the mechanism of action of applied drugs. Because of many chemotherapy drugs are designed to effectively kill all rapidly dividing cells, our hair follicle cells also rapidly divided. So hair is the unfortunate bystander that takes the fall along with the cancer cells as a result patient gradually loses his/her scalp.
Hopefully, Sir James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo, these two great researchers found specific proteins which are responsible for suppressing body's own immune activity against cancer cells and for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibiting of negative immune regulation they are awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2018. By following their method several patients with advanced melanoma, a type of skin cancer signs of remaining cancer disappeared that is auspicious.