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Oral Chimotherapy

Oral Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy involves several treatment cycles. Before starting, your Doctor will draw up a plan with the type of chemotherapy you will need to receive. Oral chemotherapy is a cancer fighting treatment in tablet, capsule or liquid form. It is prescribed by your doctor and has the same benefits and risks as the intravenous treatment. Nowadays, more and more patients receive this type of treatment.

Your doctor will give instructions on how and when to take your medication. The instructions must be followed carefully as the dose and the frequency must be carefully respected. You may need to take different tablets that are not dosed the same for this form of chemotherapy to work. It is recommended to always have your doctor’s instructions with you, just in case.

This method is often easier than traditional treatments at the hospital or clinics, as the medicine can be taken at home. It is important to understand that these pills are just as strong as the intravenous form of chemotherapy. Oral chemotherapy has shown to improve quality of life, decrease the need for painkillers, and reduce depression, when compared to hospital-based therapies in patients with advanced cancer. Over time, oral chemotherapy offers a number of advantages, such as, maintaining a more comfortable day-to-day life, fewer hospital visits, less pain and avoidance of problems related to intravenous therapy.

Another positive aspect of the oral chemotherapy is that patients tend to prefer oral treatments as it offers a sense of control and interferes less in family life and social activities.

Although oral chemotherapy is more convenient for patients and increases satisfaction, several concerns and side effects can arise with these agents.

Some of the side effects include: difficulty and pain when swallowing, nausea and vomiting… If vomiting starts right after taking the medicine, the drug absorption may be reduced. Other unwanted reactions may include severe rashes or hand- foot syndrome that can sometimes result in the discontinuation of therapy.