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3 Things to Know About Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is one of the most common methods of treating cancer in India and world over.  But not a lot of people are fully aware of what chemotherapy treatment really entails. This post will explain 3 main things you need to know about chemotherapy – what is the medical purpose of chemotherapy, how it can be administered to a patient, and the cost of chemotherapy treatment in India.

Purpose of chemotherapy treatment

Chemotherapy is the medical use of drugs and anticancer medications to cure a person from the disease of cancer. The treatment may be given with the aim to achieve one or more of these purposes:

  1. Cure – With reference to curing cancer, chemotherapy drugs are given to a patient to kill the cancer causing cells or attack a tumor with the aim to destroy it completely.

  2. Control – When speaking of using chemotherapy to control cancer it means using medication to prevent the cancerous cells from spreading and reaching other organs or parts of the body.

  3. Palliation – In advanced stage cancer cases that may be beyond control, chemotherapy may even be used simply to reduce symptoms of cancer such as pain, and help the patient feel healthier to improve the quality of life.

Administering chemotherapy medication

There are four ways to give a patient the chemo medication:

  1. Orally – In this case the patient is given one or a combination of medications and drugs to be taken through the mouth, usually in the form of a tablet or liquid. Depending on the doctor’s advice, they may be given the medication either at home or in a hospital.

  2. Intravenously – With the help of a needle, the drug is injected directly into the vein by a medical professional at a clinic or hospital.

  3. Injection – The chemical drug is injected into the patient’s arm, thigh, or elsewhere, just like a regular injection.

  4. Topically – Certain chemotherapy medication may even be in the form of a liquid or cream that is applied directly to the skin.

  5. Direct placement – The drug is given through a lumbar puncture or a device placed under the scalp.

Cost of chemotherapy treatment in India

The cost of chemotherapy treatment for cancer may vary from case to case depending on the severity, stage, type and the prognosis for treatment. A single session of chemotherapy is likely to cost anything between Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000, and most cases may require multiple such sessions. A few cycles of chemo treatment along with medical test and doctors’ fees, may run into several lakhs.

That said, there are a few ways to arrange for funds for chemotherapy treatment. Personal savings, insurances, and loans are among the most common ones. But sometimes even insurance may not suffice. Cancer patients today are turning to alternative methods such as crowdfunding, to raise money quickly through an online portal where people come together to help friends, families, and strangers in grave financial need. Today there are several platforms for crowd funding in India where one can start a cancer fundraiser for free, and Impact Guru is one such crowdfunding platform.

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