Chemotherapy is often the only choice cancer sufferers have to regain a next-to-normal health condition. In oncology, adjuvant chemotherapy plays an important role particularly in combination with other cancer treatments. Adjuvant chemotherapy represents an additional treatment administered to the patient following a surgical intervention as a means to prevent the possible development of the cancer cells that may have remained after the removal. The patient may relapse even if surgery has been performed because unfortunately, medicine is not sufficiently developed to be able to foresee whether cancer cells will reoccur or not.
Radiotherapy or regular chemical-based treatments are included in the adjuvant chemotherapy category and they are recommended by the doctors based on some statistical evidence which is employed in order to figure out whether there is low or high risk in relapse for the patient. Statistics indicate that about a third of the patients who have undergone adjuvant chemotherapy treatment have already been completely cured with the help of the surgery alone. For those who are not included in the above mentioned third, the long term purpose of the adjuvant chemotherapy is to lengthen the life of the cancer patients.
The types of cancer in which adjuvant chemotherapy is used are quite various and here we may include colon cancer, lung, pancreatic, breast and prostate cancer as well as some forms of gynecological cancers.
In terms of parallel treatments, adjuvant chemotherapy is complemented by neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. The latter is given to patients before the primary treatment and it may take the form of chemical drug-based treatment. For example, neo-adjuvant chemotherapy may be prescribed to a breast-cancer patient who will have to undergo surgery for breast removal. The aim of such a type of therapy is to reduce the tumor size so that there are fewer risks and a higher rate of success in the surgical intervention.
All in all, adjuvant chemotherapy has been identified as more rewarding in results when it is prescribed after the tumor removal rather than before it because the remaining cancer cells are fewer in number and, as a result, the drug is more powerful on them. The drugs specific to this type of treatment are most efficient when they are administered directly into the blood of the patient, that is, intravenously; another way of increasing drug effects is to insert it directly into the part of the body that is affected by cancer.
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