CHEMOTHERAPY

Cancer by nature has a propensity to spread to other parts of the body. The metastatic deposits may be big enough to be visible in the scans or may small and may go unnoticed, so every patient with cancer is assumed to have spread. Some sarcoma cells are sensitive to chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy is treatment given using drugs which have the ability to destroy the cancer cells. These drugs when given in the prescribed dose can help in cure or control of the cancer. In sarcomas it is used as an adjuvant therapy along with surgery and Radiotherapy. The chemotherapy treatment is usually given by the medical or clinical oncologist.

Side effects

These chemotherapy drugs are very toxic not only to the cancer cells but also to the normal cells of the body. These effects may present in the form of hair loss, ulcers in the mouth, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, low sperm count, bone marrow suppression, fever etc.  To counter some of the side effects rescue medications are usually given which will minimize the complications. Serious complications like bone marrow suppression, fever etc. need immediate and focused treatment. Patient may need admission for short duration. Granulocyte growth stimulating factors and antibiotics are usually given. During chemotherapy, strict dietary care needs to be taken as per the medical oncologist advice.

In male children who may receive drugs like Ifosfamide are counseled prior to chemotherapy for permanent complications like low sperm count. The parents of these children may opt for voluntary sperm preservation in special sperm banks for later use.

Chemotherapy may also be given as a palliative treatment when the tumor has spread to different parts of the body and cure is not possible. In this scenario, chemotherapy helps to prolong the life expectancy and improve quality of life.