Chemotherapy is a standard medication for treating cancer. Chemotherapy works to slow or stop cancer cells from rapidly growing and multiplying. The goal of chemotherapy will depend on the type and stage of cancer. Chemotherapy may cure some cancers, especially in the early stages, and can help control symptoms of cancers that can’t be cured.
Chemotherapy Side Effects
Chemotherapy slows or stops the rapid growth of cancer cells. However, it can have the same effect on certain normal cells that multiply quickly, for example, those found in hair follicles and and the lining of the mouth, nose, and digestive tract. The damage to these normal cells is what leads to some of the side effects of chemotherapy, like hair loss.
The most common side effects of chemotherapy may include:
- Effects on skin and nails
- Blood clotting problems
- Diarrhea and constipation
- Nerve and muscle problems
- Hair loss
- Fluid retention
- Flu-like symptoms
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mouth, gum, and throat problems
- Kidney and bladder effects
Consult with a trusted oncologist at Dignity Health Cancer Institute of Greater Sacramento to learn more about the potential side effects of chemotherapy.
Why Chemotherapy is Performed
Oncologists recommend chemotherapy as a treatment for many types of cancer. At Dignity Health, your doctor may suggest chemotherapy for the following reasons:
- As a combined treatment with surgery or radiation therapy to improve their potency (concomitant chemotherapy)
- As a treatment for cancer that has returned (recurrent) or spread (metastatic)
- To kill cancer cells that may be left after radiation therapy or surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy)
- To help shrink tumors before radiation therapy or surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy)
- To relieve symptoms such as pain or bleeding from cancer cells or tumors
What to Expect from Chemotherapy at Dignity Health
Depending on the type and stage of your cancer, you may receive either regional chemotherapy (which only affects a certain area of your body) or systemic chemotherapy (which affects your entire body).
Your chemotherapy will be given at a Dignity Health hospital or outpatient clinic in Stockton or a nearby area. Some regimens may require you to stay overnight in a hospital setting. Other forms of chemo may include tablets and lotions that can be taken at home. If your chemotherapy is performed in an outpatient setting, you’ll be able to go home after your treatment. Count on our team to help prepare you and care for your well-being as you undergo chemotherapy.
Dignity Health treats many types of cancer with chemotherapy in Stockton, CA and the surrounding areas.
Treatment for Chemo-Induced Hair Loss
St. Joseph's Cancer Institute now offers patients undergoing chemotherapy the DigniCap Scalp Cooling System, which reduces the likelihood of chemotherapy-induced hair loss in men and women with solid tumor cancers such as those associated with breast, prostate, ovarian, uterine, lung and other tissues.