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Risks and Benefits of Cancer Drugs

Updated on 12 August 2022

Cancer drugs (or drugs to cure cancer) can produce a lot of side effects.  People suffering from cancer have to take the specified drugs to treat cancer symptoms but cancer drugs also produce harmful effects on the healthy tissues of the body. Cancer drugs also produce benefits and give relief from the symptoms.

There are several cancer drugs used for treating different types of cancers. These cancer drugs vary in the mode of action. But, the main action of cancer drugs is to stop the growth of cancer cells. 

Cancer drugs may be administered in the body using different routes. Some cancer drugs are given orally, others are given through the intravenous route, and some patients receive cancer drugs in the form of shots or skin creams.

The type of drug administered at any ​​Cancer Hospital In Hyderabad for cancer treatment depends on different factors. The factors on which the type of cancer drug depends include the size of the tumour, the type of cancer, and the extent of its spread. In some cases, a combination of cancer drugs is given. Now, let us see some benefits of cancer drugs.

Benefits of Cancer Drugs

Cancer drugs may offer several health benefits.

  • The drugs can help to reduce the risk of spread of cancer cells to the other body parts
  • Cancer drugs help in slowing the growth of cancer cells and can prolong the life of the patient.
  • Cancer drugs also help in killing cancer cells and people having small cancers can avoid surgery by taking cancer drugs.
  • Patients can get relief from the symptoms such as pain, inflammation, etc.
  • Sometimes, cancer can also get cured completely by taking cancer drugs.

Risks of Cancer Drugs

Cancer drugs have many risks associated with them. Cancer drugs may affect every individual differently. The common risks associated with cancer drugs include the following,

  • Alopecia or hair loss is a common side effect or risk associated with cancer drugs. People who take treatment for any type of cancer often experience hair fall or alopecia
  • Weakness and tiredness occur commonly in people who take cancer drugs
  • Anaemia or low blood count
  • Appetite decreases
  • The person may experience nausea and vomiting
  • The digestive system may often get upset and the person may suffer from diarrhoea or constipation
  • Pain the mouth and tongue while eating food or swallowing liquids
  • Numbness and tingling sensation in the fingers and toes
  • The colour of the skin may change
  • Weight loss may occur
  • Mood changes may occur
  • Men and women may experience fertility problems while taking cancer drugs.

Why do Side Effects Occur due to Cancer Drugs?

Side effects of cancer drugs occur because cancer drugs affect the quickly growing cancer cells. In this process, these drugs also affect the healthy cells in the body and can produce side effects by damaging these healthy cells. Cancer drugs may damage the healthy cells of different body organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, bladders, and nervous system. Doctors give cancer drugs to treat high levels of cancer while reducing the risk of cancer drugs. 

Some people experience only a few side effects whereas others may experience more side effects. The range of side effects also varies from one person to another. You must talk to your doctor about the side effects that you may likely experience with the cancer drugs recommended for you. The doctor may also prescribe medications to prevent the side effects of cancer drugs. Some cancer drugs may cause long-term problems, therefore, you must discuss the side effects of cancer drugs with your Oncologist.

How long do the Cancer Drugs' side effects last?

Some side effects go away quickly but some side effects may last for a longer time. Sometimes the side effects of cancer drugs may last for a lifetime. Some cancer drugs may cause irreparable damage to the major organs of the body such as the kidneys, lungs, heart, and reproductive system. However, on a positive note, some cancer drugs may not produce severe side effects while taking them but may produce bad side effects after some time. 

The side effects of cancer drugs also depend on the time for which you have to take the cancer drugs. Thus, you can also ask your doctor how long you have to take the cancer drugs and when you can contact the team if you experience harmful effects from cancer drugs.

Conclusion

After knowing the risk and benefits, it is always advisable to know all the possible risk factors associated with cancer drugs. Cancer-curing drugs will kill the healthy cells and might interfere with natural body functions and processes, but they are the best non-invasive resort to kill cancer cells. You must discuss the side effects of cancer drugs with the best oncologists in Hyderabad to manage them properly and be mentally ready.

 

Dr. Ravi Jaiswal

Consultant Medical Oncologist

Ramkrishna CARE Hospitals, Raipur

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