A patient invariably will have queries on what she would go through during the chemotherapy treatment even after once the chemotherapy regimen is decided. The doctor will have an exhaustive discussion with the patient wherein he’ll discuss the progress of the therapy with all the side effects. In case of severe side effects the treating doctor should be immediately contacted. Response of each person to the therapy is different and as such one patient should not worry if her reactions are different from others.
Usually chemotherapy is administered post surgery, immediately on recovery from the surgery. This recovery time varies from patient to patient and when given in addition to surgery, it is called “adjuvant” chemotherapy. In other cases it is given before surgery so that the cancer cells shrink and less tissue needs to be removed during surgery. This is called “neoadjuvant” chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is given in cycles. Each cycle has a treatment period and a recovery period when no treatment is given and the body’s immune system and red blood cell system are recovering from the strong effects of the therapy. In a routine traditional chemotherapy the cycle is of three weeks while in a dose dense chemotherapy, the cycle is of two weeks. A chemotherapy treatment schedule ranges from 3 months to 6 months.