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Chemotherapy

Avg Price: $280-$1500

Chemotherapy involves the use of potent drugs to eliminate rapidly dividing cells within the body. Primarily employed in the treatment of cancer, this approach is effective ...
chemotherapychemotherapy
  • Treatment Time

  • Recovery Time

  • Hospitalization Days

  • Success Rate

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Chemotherapy: Preparation, Procedure, Recovery, & Treatment Outcomes

95% Success Rate
11000+ Doctors
150+ Top Hospitals
250+ Surgeries
35+ Countries
95% Success Rate
11000+ Doctors
150+ Top Hospitals
250+ Surgeries
35+ Countries

Overview

Cancer stands as a prominent global cause of death, claiming nearly 10 million lives in 2020, equating to almost one in six deaths. Early detection and correct diagnosis of cancer is crucial for tailored and effective treatment, as each Cancer type demands a specific Therapeutic approach involving Surgery, Radiotherapy, and/or systemic Therapy (Chemotherapy, Hormonal treatments, targeted Biological Therapies).

Chemotherapy stands as a transformative and life-changing option for many Cancer patients, offering a beacon of hope in the face of a challenging diagnosis, thereby turning the tide in the battle against cancer. In the early 20th century, this treatment emerged, initially not designed for cancer treatment. Within the following two decades, there was a growing adoption of combination chemotherapy regimens. The simultaneous application of drugs with diverse mechanisms of action contributed to enhanced patient survival and a steady decrease in mortality rates of cancer, a trend observed annually since 1990. This decline in death rates is attributed to advancements in both early detection methods and the administration of chemo drugs as part of the treatment strategy.

However, in 2018, there were approximately 17 million new cancer cases, with an estimated increase to 26 million by 2040, primarily in low- or middle-income countries. A recent study in the Lancet Oncology journal forecasts a 53% increase in the annual need for Chemotherapy, rising from 9.8 million to 15 million patients globally between 2018 and 2040.

Despite these forecasts, early detection and successful treatment have the potential to cure numerous cancers. Furthermore, the relentless advancement in therapeutic interventions for cancer treatment, can manage and alleviate the anticipated increase in demand for this treatment. Additionally, ongoing efforts to devise strategies for improving the availability and accessibility of this treatment option for people will contribute to paving the way toward a world free of cancer.

Because of highly complex nature of this treatment, there is a significant requirement for a high level of procedural expertise and sophistication. India stands out on the global stage for its exceptional proficiency among chemotherapy specialists, owing to their remarkable skills and access to advanced healthcare facilities. Therefore, people from around the world currently have excellent opportunities to avail services from best doctors for chemotherapy and best hospitals for chemotherapy in India. If you're seeking insight, today, we'll shed light on this procedure and its details.

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Types of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy includes array of drugs, each designed to target specific aspects of cell growth and division. The types of Chemotherapy can be classified based on their mechanisms of action, usage, and impact on the cell cycle. Here are some common types:

  • Alkylating Agents: These drugs interfere with the DNA structure, preventing cancer cells from reproducing. This category includes drugs like cyclophosphamide, cisplatin.
  • Antimetabolites: These drugs resemble substances the cell needs for growth but disrupt normal cellular function. This category includes drugs like methotrexate, fluorouracil.
  • Antitumor Antibiotics: These drugs are derived from natural sources, they interfere with DNA replication. This category includes drugs like doxorubicin, bleomycin.
  • Topoisomerase Inhibitors: These drugs disrupt the action of enzymes involved in DNA replication. This category includes drugs like topotecan, irinotecan.
  • Mitotic inhibitors: These drugs Interfere with the process of mitosis, preventing cell division. This category includes drugs like Paclitaxel, Vinblastine.
  • Hormone Therapy: These drugs target hormones that certain cancers use to grow. This category includes drugs like tamoxifen (used in breast cancer), leuprolide (used in prostate cancer).
  • Targeted Therapies: These drugs focus on specific molecules involved in cancer growth. This category includes drugs like imatinib, trastuzumab.
  • Immunomodulating Drugs: These drugs enhance the body's immune response against cancer cells. This category includes drugs like interferons, interleukins.
  • Platinum-based Drugs: These drugs contain platinum and form highly reactive compounds that interfere with DNA replication. This category includes drugs like cisplatin, carboplatin.

Your Oncologist might employ Chemotherapy in various approaches:

  • Adjuvant Therapy: It is administered post-surgery or radiation therapy to eradicate any remaining cancer cells.
  • Curative Therapy: Administering chemotherapy, possibly combined with radiation or surgery, aims to completely eliminate the cancer, preventing its recurrence.
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy: It is used to reduce the size of a tumor before undergoing surgery or radiation therapy.
  • Palliative Therapy: In this context, chemotherapy is employed to shrink tumors and alleviate symptoms, although it doesn't provide a cure for the cancer.

The choice of this therapy depends on the type and stage of cancer, as well as individual patient factors. Combinations of different types may be used for enhanced effectiveness.

Pre-Evaluation for Chemotherapy

How you get ready for Chemotherapy depends on the specific drugs and their administration method. Your doctor will provide detailed instructions for your preparations for procedure. This may involve:

  • Inserting a Device for Intravenous Chemotherapy: If the drugs are administered intravenously, your doctor might suggest a surgically implanted device like a catheter, port, or pump in a major vein, typically in your chest, through which the drugs can be delivered.
  • Undergoing Tests and Procedures: Prior to starting chemotherapy, tests assessing kidney, liver, and heart functions may be conducted. Depending on the results, adjustments in the treatment plan may be made for safety.
  • Dental Checkup: A dentist may examine your teeth for signs of infection. Treating any existing infections is crucial to minimize complications during the procedure, as some drugs may compromise your immune system.
  • Planning for Side Effects: Anticipate and plan for potential side effects by discussing them with your doctor. Depending on the expected effects, you might consider preserving sperm or eggs, arranging for head coverings if hair loss is anticipated, and making other necessary preparations.
  • Arranging Support at Home and Work: While most therapy sessions are outpatient, making arrangements for help at home and work is advisable. Your doctor can provide an estimate of how chemotherapy might impact your daily life, but individual reactions can vary.
  • Preparing for the First Treatment: Seek guidance from your doctor or nurses on preparing for your initial session. Arriving well-rested and having a light meal before the treatment, especially if nausea is expected, can be beneficial.
  • Transportation for the First Treatment: For the initial treatment, having a friend or family member drive you may be advisable, as some medications can cause drowsiness or other side effects that may affect your ability to drive.

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How is Chemotherapy done?

You may expect following during the procedure:

  • Determining the Chemo Drugs You will Receive

Discuss your treatment options with your doctor to collaboratively determine the most suitable approach for you. Your doctor selects the chemotherapy drugs based on various factors, including:

  1. Type of cancer
  2. Cancer stage
  3. Overall health
  4. Previous cancer treatments
  5. Your goals and preferences
  • Administering Chemo Drugs

Chemotherapy drugs can be administered in different ways:

  1. Infusions: It is commonly administered through infusions, primarily intravenously. This involves inserting a tube with a needle into a vein in your arm or into a chest device.
  2. Pills: Certain drugs are available in pill or capsule form, allowing for oral administration.
  3. Shots: Certain drugs can be injected using a needle, similar to receiving a standard injection.
  4. Creams: For specific types of skin cancer, chemo drugs can be applied topically through creams or gels.
  5. Localized Treatment: Direct delivery of chemo drugs to a specific body area, such as the abdomen (intraperitoneal chemotherapy), chest cavity (intrapleural chemotherapy), or central nervous system (intrathecal chemotherapy). Additionally, these drugs can be administered through the urethra into the bladder (intravesical chemotherapy).
  6. Direct to Cancer: Chemo drugs can be given directly to the cancer site, either during surgery or afterward. For example, thin disk-shaped wafers containing chemo drugs may be placed near a tumor during surgery. These wafers gradually break down, releasing the chemo drugs. Alternatively, these drugs may be injected into a vein or artery directly feeding a tumor.
  • Treatment Frequency

The frequency of chemotherapy treatments is determined by your doctor based on the selected drugs, cancer characteristics, and your recovery after each session. Treatment schedules can be continuous or involve alternating periods of treatment and rest for recovery.

  • Treatment Locations

The location for chemotherapy treatments depends on your situation and can occur:

  1. In an outpatient unit
  2. In a doctors office
  3. In a hospital
  4. At home, particularly when taking chemotherapy pills

Complications of Chemotherapy

The side effects of these drugs can be substantial, and they vary for each drug. Not all drugs induce the same side effects. It's crucial to inquire with your doctor about the specific side effects associated with the drugs prescribed for you.

Chemo drugs often lead to common side effects, including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Mouth sores
  • Pain
  • Constipation
  • Easy bruising
  • Bleeding

Many of these side effects are manageable and can be prevented or treated. Most subside once the treatment concludes. Some chemotherapy drugs may cause side effects that manifest months or years after treatment. These late side effects can vary depending on the specific drug and may include:

  • Damage to lung tissue
  • Heart problems
  • Infertility
  • Kidney problems
  • Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)
  • Risk of a second cancer

It is essential to discuss with your doctor the potential for late side effects and inquire about signs and symptoms that may indicate a problem. This proactive approach ensures awareness and timely intervention if needed.

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Post-procedure

Your medical team, led by your doctor, will consistently assess the efficacy of your treatments. This involves employing imaging methods, blood tests, and potentially additional measures. Open communication with your doctor about the impact of therapy on you enhances your treatment journey. Informing your doctor about any side effects or challenges related to treatment allows them to make necessary adjustments for an improved treatment experience.

Following are some post-chemotherapy self-care tips:

  • Mouth Care:
  1. Brush teeth and gums 2 to 3 times daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  2. Allow your toothbrush to air dry between uses.
  3. Use fluoride toothpaste, floss gently once a day, and rinse your mouth four times daily with a salt and baking soda solution.
  4. Refrain from using mouth rinses containing alcohol.
  5. Use regular lip care products to prevent dryness and cracking.
  • Denture and Dental Products Care:
  1. If you wear dentures, use them only while eating for the initial 3 to 4 weeks post-chemotherapy.
  2. Brush dentures twice a day, rinse well, and soak them in an antibacterial solution when not in use.
  • Preventing Infections:
  1. Practice safe eating and drinking, avoiding undercooked or spoiled foods.
  2. Ensure water safety and follow proper food storage and cooking practices.
  3. Wash hands frequently, especially after outdoor activities, touching body fluids, or using the bathroom.
  4. Maintain a clean home environment, avoid crowds, and request visitors with cold symptoms to wear a mask or postpone visits.
  5. Be cautious with pets, keep cats indoors, have someone else change the litter box daily, and avoid rough play to prevent infections.
  6. Consult your provider about recommended vaccines and schedules.
  • Other Self-care Tips:
  1. If you have a central venous or PICC line, learn proper care.
  2. Take precautions to prevent bleeding if your platelet count is low.
  3. Stay active by walking and gradually increase activity based on energy levels.
  4. Consume enough protein and calories to maintain weight, consider liquid food supplements if needed.
  5. Protect yourself from the sun with a hat and sunscreen, refrain from smoking.
  • Follow-up:
  1. Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your cancer providers.
  • When to Call the Doctor:

Contact your provider if you experience:

  1. Signs of infection (fever, chills, sweats)
  2. Persistent or bloody diarrhea
  3. Severe nausea, vomiting, or inability to eat or drink
  4. Extreme weakness
  5. Redness, swelling, or drainage from IV line sites
  6. New skin rash or blisters
  7. Jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes)
  8. Abdominal pain
  9. Severe or persistent headache
  10. Worsening cough or difficulty breathing at rest or during simple tasks
  11. Burning during urination

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Life after Chemotherapy

Life after Chemotherapy marks a significant transition, and it often involves a combination of relief, hope, and adjustment. Here are some aspects to consider as you navigate life after therapy:

  • Recovery and Healing: Give yourself time to recover both physically and emotionally. The body needs time to recover from the effects of chemotherapy, and healing is a gradual process.
  • Follow-up Care: Regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare team are crucial. These appointments allow your doctor to monitor your health, address any concerns, and ensure that the cancer remains in remission.
  • Emotional Well-being: Emotional healing is an integral part of the post-chemotherapy journey. Consider joining support groups, counseling, or therapy to help process the emotional impact of your cancer experience.
  • Physical Activity: Gradually reintroduce physical activity into your routine based on your doctor's recommendations. Exercise can contribute to overall well-being and help regain strength.
  • Diet and Nutrition: Focus on a balanced and nutritious diet to support your recovery. Consult with a nutritionist if needed, especially if you experienced changes in appetite or dietary preferences during treatment.
  • Monitoring for Late Effects: Be aware of potential late effects of chemotherapy. Some side effects may become apparent months or years after treatment, so regular check-ups and communication with your doctor are essential.
  • Returning to Work and Normal Activities: Discuss with your doctor when it's safe to resume work and normal activities. It's essential to strike a balance between gradually returning to your routine and allowing yourself the time needed for recovery.
  • Health Maintenance: Prioritize preventive health measures. This may include vaccinations, screenings, and lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of recurrence or other health issues.
  • Support Systems: Maintain your support system. Family, friends, and support groups can provide valuable emotional support during the post-chemotherapy phase.
  • Celebrating Milestones: Celebrate milestones, both big and small. Each step forward in your recovery is an achievement worth acknowledging and celebrating.

Remember that life after chemotherapy is a unique journey for each individual. It's okay to take things at your own pace and to seek the support you need. Regular communication with your healthcare team is crucial as they can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Success Rate of Chemotherapy

The survival rate for chemotherapy varies widely and depends on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, overall health of the individual, and how well the cancer responds to treatment. It's important to note that survival rates are statistical estimates and may not predict an individual's outcome. For some cancers, this therapy can be highly effective, leading to complete remission and a good chance of long-term survival. In other cases, the effectiveness of chemotherapy may be more limited, and the prognosis may be less optimistic.

However, a 2016 study involving 165 patients treated for locally advanced unresectable head and neck cancers (Stage III, IV) sought to compare the survival outcomes of concurrent chemo-radiation (CRT) and radiation (RT) alone in such cases. The study aimed to assess factors influencing survival.

Encouragingly, the findings demonstrated that patients who received drug therapy exhibited notably improved overall survival rates compared to those who did not undergo chemotherapy. Specifically, the 1-year overall survival rate was 52% with chemotherapy versus 9.5% without, and the 2-year overall survival rate was 36.7% with chemotherapy versus 1.5% without. This underscores the efficacy of concurrent chemo-radiation therapy (CRT) as the recommended standard treatment for medically fit patients.

Treatment Cost Analysis & Comparison for Chemotherapy

The cost of Chemotherapy in India is quite affordable than many Western nations, while still maintaining world-class quality. The approximate price of this procedure in India ranges from ₹56,000 ($800) to ₹2,80,000 ($4,000).

Location

Minimum Cost (₹)

Average Cost (₹)

Maximum Cost (₹)

Delhi

$40

$245

$681

Mumbai

$42

$254

$706

Chennai

$36

$221

$613

Hyderabad

$35

  $214

$594

Comparison of cost of Chemotherapy in India with other western countries for four weeks of treatment:
 

Country

Average Cost ($)

USA

$8900

UK

$2900

Australia

$2800

Israel

$3100

China

$3800

Factors Affecting Cost of Chemotherapy

Following are the factors affecting cost of Chemotherapy in India:

  • Out of pocket expense
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Consultation fees
  • Pre-evaluation expenses
  • Type and severity of cancer
  • Procedural cost
  • Hospital fees
  • Doctor fees
  • Patients age
  • Type of procedure
  • Overall health status of the patients
  • Complications involved after the procedure
  • City where hospital is located

Cost of Diagnostics for Chemotherapy

The cost for diagnostic tests and evaluations linked to Chemotherapy can fluctuate due to several factors. These factors include the particular tests needed, your choice of healthcare facility or clinic, and your geographical location. The following is the approximate diagnostic cost split for this treatment:

Diagnostic Procedure Cost
Biopsy USD 429 to USD 500
Endoscopy USD 19 to USD 386
X-Ray USD 10 to USD 25
PET Scan USD 193 to USD 800
Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) of the lymph nodes USD 10 to USD 32
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan USD 26- USD 321
Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan USD 26 to USD 400

 

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  • Individualized Guidance: Personalized guidance throughout your medical journey.
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  • The road to a successful chemotherapy is long and challenging, full of hope, resilience, and the promise of a brighter future. With MedFlick as your guide, navigating this life-changing adventure becomes simple and liberating.

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Frequently asked questions

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