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Many people, especially the ones from a non-medical background tend to correlate the term ‘chemotherapy is’ to mean and include drugs and medical treatment used for treating cancer. However, chemotherapy is or can be used as a drug to treat any disease. The word chemotherapy is more popularly also referred to as ‘chemo’.

One of the advantageous of undergoing chemotherapy as opposed to surgery or radiation therapy is that while surgery or radiation therapy removes or kills or damages cancer cells lying in a specific part of the body, chemotherapy works throughout the whole body. Hence, chemotherapy helps in eliminating cancer cells which have spread to the parts in the patient’s body even if they are far away from the place of the original tumor.

Unlike other medical ailments, there are no signs or indications which show that chemotherapy is required for a particular patient. It is only through tests which the patient undergoes and through which the surgeon can assess the growth of tumour and decide if chemotherapy is required or not.


There are some specific types of cancer for which chemotherapy is the core treatment. Such forms of cancer include blood as well as bone marrow cancer like for example, leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. For any other kind of cancer, particularly breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer or such form of cancer which arises from an organ, chemotherapy is usually administered in addition to surgery and/or radiation.

Cost of cancer treatment is quite high. This is largely because of the chemotherapy sessions which are given to the patient. Chemotherapy is not a onetime medication or procedure. It is a treatment which is given in numerous sittings and the cost is based on each sitting. Moreover, along with each sitting of chemotherapy the patient is also given radiation. Hence, on an average the cost of chemotherapy can go as high as anything between 20 lakhs to 22 lakhs.

Considering such high cost of chemotherapy which hospitals charge, patients must always seek a second opinion if chemotherapy is actually needed or whether their ailment can be treated by any other less expensive procedure. Having said so, based on the research conducted to analyze chemotherapy success rate, almost 52% of the population who have been detected with cancer in their initial stages seemed to have survived. However, this percentage reduces once the patient’s condition becomes more severe.

Coming to the procedure, there are primarily two types of chemotherapy, namely, the normal chemotherapy and adjuvant chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is used as the primary treatment in responsive systemic tumours such as lymphoma or for palliation of clinical signs which are not curable by surgery or radiation. Adjuvant chemotherapy is more or less used in the post operation stage where is almost no cancer left but there is risk of recurrence of the same.


During the chemotherapy, the patient is administered drugs which are or can be given in different ways, depending on the treatment for which the procedure is being used.  However, very often chemotherapy is given by way of an injection into a vein which is known as intravenous chemotherapy.


Once the patient has been administered with chemotherapy, there are some tests which the medical practitioner will conduct just to assess and understand if the chemotherapy is working well or not. These tests include the blood tests (to check if the liver and kidney is in proper condition as there are chances of these getting damaged due to chemotherapy), X-Rays, CT scan, physical exams, MRI or (PET) scans. Besides this, your doctor may also give you some injections which will help in boosting the production of red and white blood cells.

Chemotherapy can show some side effects as well. Some of the commonly observed side effects are rashes, fatigue, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sores in the mouth etc.

Looking at the cost of chemotherapy, it is always a good idea to first enquire the rates of chemotherapy in different hospitals based on which you will be able to decide for yourself the hospital which suits you. Equally important is to see the quality of doctors who will be involved in the process. Carrying out this entire exercise of enquiring can be quite tiring and exhausting. In order to help you with this, India Health Help provides you with an online portal through which you can get all your doubts, queries, clarifications sorted from medical experts themselves.
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