One of the top diseases in the cancer department is breast cancer. Like many lifestyle diseases, breast cancer incidence continues to rise.
One of the most devastating news for cancer sufferers is a diagnosis of stage 4 breast cancer. What then does a stage 4 breast cancer mean?
Cancer staging usually indicates if the cancerous cells have spread or metastasized to other areas of the body other than the original part. It is helpful to know that cancer happens when our body cells lose the normal control in division or multiplying themselves and they tend to spread to other organs. Cancer cells who have reached other organs are said to have spread or metastasized.
The higher the cancer stage, the less likely the cure. Cancer therapies are often combined to provide better effect against the battle with cancer. One of the most media hyped therapy for cancer is chemotherapy.
Is chemotherapy effective at curing your cancer?
In chemotherapy, chosen medicines are used and combined to provide an effect that can kill the rapidly dividing cancer cells. The special medications used in chemotherapy have different mechanisms of action but they all help in killing off the offending cells. In a cancer on a stage 4 or malignant type it is difficult to detect the cells manually and make it ineffective to simply remove the cancerous cells. This is the reason why the more invasive chemotherapy is used in these malignant cancer stages.
What are the possible side effects of chemotherapy on stage 4 breast cancer?
Like any other therapy, there are inherent risks in using chemotherapy for stage 4 breast cancer. It is not a perfect treatment and it also has its accompanying ill or side effects. Hair loss or alopecia is one of the most known side effects of cancer chemotherapy. This happens because many of the drugs used in chemotherapy can locate defective or cancerous cells by identifying if they divide in a more rapid way than normal. This leads these medicines to kill body cells that seem to be cancerous or multiplying rapidly. The down side is that it also attacks the normally rapid dividing cells like those in the hair. The chemotherapy medications do not differentiate the normal rapidly dividing hair cells from the abnormal cells with cancer. This makes alopecia or hair loss an inevitable side effect from chemotherapy. Other side effects from chemotherapy are vomiting, stomach ache, nausea, fatigue and others.