Chemotherapy kills stomach cancer cells by using anticancer or cytotoxic medications. The medications circulate in the bloodstream throughout the body.
Chemotherapy is normally given every three weeks when you get it. Chemotherapy cycles might last anywhere from three to six weeks.
Prior to surgery
If your oncologist recommends surgery to try to cure your cancer, you'll almost certainly receive chemotherapy beforehand. This is referred to as neo adjuvant therapy. Its goals are to:
- diminish the size of the cancer so that the surgeon can remove it more easily
- reduce the chances of cancer recurrence
Before and after the operation
Chemotherapy may be administered both before and after surgery (perioperative chemotherapy).
Chemotherapy following surgery may lower your chances of a recurrence of cancer.
Cancer has progressed to an advanced stage.
If you have advanced stomach cancer, you may also need chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy comes in various forms.
Types of chemotherapy
In most cases, you'll be taking a mix of two or three medicines (in a regimen).
- cisplatin, epirubicin, and capecitabine (ECX)
- cisplatin, epirubicin, and fluorouracil (ECF)
- Fluorouracil, folinic acid, oxaliplatin, and docetaxel are examples of chemotherapy drugs (FLOT)
Other common pairings include:
- capecitabine, oxaliplatin, and epirubicin (EOX)
- Fluorouracil, oxaliplatin, and epirubicin (EOF)
- oxaliplatin, fluorouracil, and folinic acid (FOLFOX)
Chemotherapy administration methods
The majority of these medications are injected into your arm via a drip. The drip is connected to a tiny tube inserted into one of the patient's veins by a nurse. If the patient requires a central line, the medications are injected into a big vein in the chest or an arm vein using a lengthy plastic tube. This apparatus will remain in place for a few months until the treatment is completed.
Where do you get chemo?
At a cancer clinic or an outpatient practise in a hospital, treatment is usually given in the bloodstream. It's likely that the patient will be prescribed various types of chemotherapy over the course of several days. They may be able to get some medications through a small portable pump that the patient can take home with them. They must stay in a hospital ward for various types of chemotherapy.
SIDE EFFECTS OF CHEMOTHERAPY
Chemotherapy medications have an effect on healthy cells as well. They can have negative side effects, including making you sick or increasing your risk of infection. Side effects are frequently lessened and usually disappear once treatment is completed.
Chemotherapy for stomach cancer can be given in the following ways:
- before and after surgery to minimise the danger of the cancer returning
- to reduce the size of a malignancy that is too enormous to be removed – This can make an operation possible in specific cases.
- chemo-radiation to manage the cancer
- relieve symptoms if stomach cancer has spread to other regions of the body
Chemotherapy is delivered in a series of sessions known as regimens. The patient can usually go home the same day after a therapy session. Some patients receive chemotherapy through a portable infusion pump.
- Some items you used to eat may create digestive difficulties after therapy. To figure out what works best for them, the patient may need to experiment with different foods and eating styles. They may need to adjust their eating patterns, such as eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
- To avoid malnutrition, it is critical to ensure that the patient is eating and drinking enough to maintain their weight. If they are eating less than usual, it is often suggested that they eat foods that are high in calories and protein. When the patient is recovering from treatment, previous food restrictions and guidelines may be lifted. Request a referral from your doctor for a nutritionist with experience in cancer care.
- Some people have a hard time emotionally adjusting to the changes in their eating habits. They may be self-conscious or fearful of eating in front of others or among friends. These are normal reactions. Talking about their feelings with family and friends, as well as speaking with a counsellor or someone who has gone through a similar event, may be beneficial. They might be able to offer sound advice on how to make the necessary adjustments. Adapting to a new way of eating may take time and help.