How long is Chemotherapy Given — This depends on various factors ranging from the type of cancer to the recovery time, which a patient requires after chemotherapy.
Varied factors, such as the type of cancer, the stage of cancer, the extent of the cancer metastasis, the chemotherapy drugs given, their side-effects and the expected time for recovery are taken into consideration to determine the length of chemotherapy.
The course of chemotherapy treatment is given in cycles. A cycle of chemotherapy treatment can be defined as the day when you were given drugs followed by rest from the treatment. This allows recovery from repercussions of the treatment and also provides enough time to the damaged cells to recover before the next chemotherapy session begins. The three concerns related to the chemotherapy cycles are duration of each cycle, frequency of the cycles and number of cycles required.
[Read; How is Chemotherapy Given?]
Duration of each cycle— Chemotherapy treatment can be inclusive of single drug or a combination of a few. If it involves a combination of drugs, all drugs may be given on a single day, in a week or several consecutive days. The specific procedure of the prescribed chemotherapy drug/s decides the duration of each cycle. It could last minutes, hours or even days.
Frequency of the cycles— Every cycle of chemotherapy treatment can be stretched to a week, fortnight or month. For example, two chemotherapy sessions a month may be classified as one cycle. Usually, the length of a full course of chemotherapy cycle is six months, however, it can vary and may be shorter or longer depending on the counts of cycles required to eliminate the cancerous tumour.
The number of cycles required— The length of chemotherapy is equivalent to the number of cycles that are required for complete removal of cancer. They are determined by research and clinical trials.
- Adjuvant chemotherapy, which is given after surgical removal of visible tumour may last four to six months. In testicular cancer, hodgkin and non-hodgkin lymphoma and leukaemia’s, the chemotherapy treatment may take up to a year to last.
- If the cancer is visible, the length of chemotherapy depends on how the patient responds to therapy. If the tumour does not disappear, but its size shrinks, chemotherapy will be continued until the growth of the tumour disrupts.
- If the tumour continues to grow despite chemotherapy, the doctors usually stop it. Depending on the patient’s general health condition and his wishes to go for further drug administration, doctors try to kill the cancer using different drugs or other alternative treatment may be resorted to.
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