Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancer, and there are different types available depending on the type and stage of cancer being treated.
The top 5 most common cancers in Ireland are:
- Breast cancer: Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in Ireland, affecting mainly women but also men.
- Prostate cancer: Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in Ireland and affects males only. It is also the most survivable of all cancers.
- Lung cancer: Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in Ireland, predominantly caused by smoking but also affecting non-smokers.
- Colorectal cancer: Colorectal cancer, which includes both colon and rectal cancer, is the fourth most common cancer in Ireland.
- Skin cancer: Skin cancer, including melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, is the fifth most common cancer in Ireland, primarily caused by excessive exposure to sunlight.
Chemotherapy is often only one part of cancer treatment
Chemotherapy is often used in combination with other treatments such as surgery and radiation therapy to achieve the best possible outcome. The choice of chemotherapy drugs will depend on factors such as the type and stage of cancer being treated, the patient's overall health, and any other medical conditions they may have.
Cancer care teams will educate patients about the potential side effects of chemotherapy, which can include nausea, fatigue, hair loss, and an increased risk of infection but its important for pharmacists to be knowledgeable of side effects so they can also support the patients dealing with and counteracting these treatments. Patients should be informed about which side effects are common and which ones require immediate medical attention. It is also important to monitor patients closely for any signs of adverse reactions to chemotherapy drugs and to communicate with the medical team to ensure that proper care is being provided.
To be continued… next week I discuss the main types of chemotherapy drugs.
For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans Pharmacies, log on to www.whelehans.ie or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore).