What is chemoradiotherapy for lung cancer?
Chemoradiotherapy is known as having chemotherapy and radiotherapy together. In chemotherapy, cytotoxic drugs are used. Cytotoxic drugs are chemicals that destroy and disrupt the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy for lung cancer can be given through the bloodstream (IV) and can be taken orally in the form of pills.
Chemotherapy can be started alongside radiotherapy, or can be given after radiotherapy ends.
Radiotherapy is often given in short sessions for 4 to 6 times a week. A radiologist will work out how much radiation is to be given and before starting treatment, tiny marks are made in the skin to focus on areas that require treatment. During the time of treatment the patient may have to keep his /her hand above the head or sometime the patient is given a mould to keep still during the treatment.
Chemoradiotherapy can be given:
- Concurrent (Both chemo and RT simultaneously)
- Sequential (Chemotherapy followed by Radiotherapy)
The following are names of drugs used in the treatment of chemotherapy
Side effects of chemoradiotherapy in lung cancer treatment
Chemoradiotherapy can have long and short term side effects, and the magnitude of these side effects can differ from person to person. The most common side effects include:
- Increased chances of getting an infection
- Bleeding nose and gums
- Kidney damage
- Changes to hearing
- Periods stopping
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Tingling sensation in the toes or fingers
- skin changes