This article is co-written by Luba Lee, FNP-BC. Luba Lee is a certified family medical assistant from Tennessee. He has a master's degree in nursing from the University of Tennessee in 2006 ..
The number of sources used in this article is 47. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.
If you or someone close to you is currently undergoing chemotherapy, then you know what side effects arise from this treatment. Although chemotherapy kills cancer cells, it negatively affects health. Depending on the particular regimen, chemotherapy can cause nausea and vomiting, overwork, digestive problems, hair loss, mouth ulcers and sudden mood swings, and also increases the risk of infection. Fortunately, there are certain ways that can reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
Table of contents
- From the author
- Preface to the second edition and WHY DO WE NEED ADDITIONAL THERAPY?
- Volume 1. Complementary therapy in oncology. European approach
- Chapter 1. This book will help you live longer. Why supplementation is needed
- Chapter 2. What should be complementary therapy?
- Chapter 3. Post-diagnostic stress syndrome. Shock and depression from the diagnosis. Take the stone from the soul
The given introductory fragment of the book Complementary therapy in oncology. Volume 1. How to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, hormonal, radiotherapy and accelerate recovery after surgery. European approach (A.V. Kulakov) provided by our book partner - LitRes company.
Chapter 2. What should be complementary therapy?
You can find many books on cancer treatment in bookstores, many of which are about treatment with folk remedies. What we just do not offer - conspiracies, magic, poisonous plants, vodka with oil and other potions. One must be completely naive optimist in order to believe that the cancer patient will have time to try all these means and find among them that which will heal him. In my opinion, the chances of finding this tool are less than when buying a lottery ticket to win an apartment in Moscow. Note that in this literary abundance on the topic of oncology, almost all books talk about alternative cancer treatment (substitution of official treatment), and it will be difficult for the patient to find at least one book about safe complementary treatment to what the oncologist has prescribed.
Alternative treatment 1 is often chosen on the advice of friends or from articles about healthy lifestyle in magazines or on the Internet. But some time after going to the "healers" and starting to use "folk" pseudo-medicines, the state of health worsens greatly, and the patient gradually realizes that "the possibility of recovery is irretrievably lost."
Therefore, in order to avoid “regrets about missed opportunities”, it is necessary to carefully be treated by a good oncologist, accompanying the main therapy safecomplementary treatment.
When choosing a complementary treatment, one should be guided by the following requirements:
1. It should help without interfering with the main therapy prescribed by the oncologist.
2. It should be effective enough so that in several sessions it can be assessed its benefits (up to 3 weeks).
3. Treatment should be affordable (the prices of many oncology drugs surprise with their ruthlessness).
All these requirements of complementary treatment are met only by centuries-tested homeopathy, as well as a change in lifestyle and thinking. We emphasize what is especially important - homeopathic treatments are not toxic, do not interact with other drugs and are quite affordable.
Homeopathy has both followers and critics, but now it’s important for you to understand that it is really good as a complementary treatment. This book is my view of therapy, backed up by years of practice and patient healing stories. Let me remind you of what we talked about a little earlier: recovery is your personal responsibility, so I advise you to spend time studying the issue and get more benefits in the fight against the disease. All preparations containing active ingredients in significant doses, including all herbal remedies, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, dietary supplements are not homeopathic. Natural or "natural" treatment, as it is often called, is considered to be harmless, but this is a delusion. Any non-homeopathic medicines have risks of interaction (interference) with anticancer drugs. Knowledge of modern chemistry and pharmacology makes it clear that the risks of interaction are still seriously underestimated. Even antioxidant vitamins (A, C, E and beta-carotene) can protect not only healthy cells, but also those that we are trying to get rid of. This mainly concerns synthetic vitamin preparations, and vitamins and antioxidants contained in natural products are more effective and safe. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables without heat to cover the need for vitamins.
For example, it is known that the following combinations of chemotherapeutic drugs are incompatible with certain products and dietary supplements:
1) The antithyrosine kinase drug (tyrosine kinase inhibitors) is incompatible with grapefruit juice or hypericum preparations (Hypericum) due to their effect on liver enzymes (CYP 3A4), which are also used by antityrosine kinases.
2) Tamoxifen citrate and flavonoids are incompatible.
3) Incompatible doxorubicin and N-acetyl L-cysteine (NAC).
4) 5-fluorouracil and capecitabine (Capecitabinum) are incompatible with beta-carotene.
5) Incompatible bortezomib (Bortezomibum) and green tea. Bortezomib is used to treat multiple myeloma and lymphoma.
6) Cyclophosphamide and curcumin are incompatible.
These examples show that you can not thoughtlessly use antioxidants (BAA) in the treatment of cancer. Be sure to consider the interaction of drugs and dietary supplements with ongoing treatment and other active factors.
Therefore, the ideal solution to the problems that arise during chemotherapy is to take the right homeopathic medicines.
I want to draw your attention to the fact that homeopathy, unlike herbal medicine, does not interact at the chemical level with the oncologist’s treatment. Note! This fact is extremely important.
If there is a safe complementary treatment, then why are many oncologists opposed to all the complementary treatment, in addition to what they have prescribed?
The treatment prescribed by the oncologist is based on the protocol (instructions) approved by the Ministry of Health. The purpose of these instructions is to avoid errors in general, however, even the best instructions cannot provide an individual approach to each patient.
Moreover, the legal risks associated with the application of an individual approach only contribute to the destruction of the individual approach in practice, declaring it from the stands. Doctors are often afraid to deviate from the approved treatment protocol, fearing sanctions from superiors.
Homeopathy is a separate treatment technique that requires a doctor to take long-term training and practice to succeed. Not all doctors have the desire and time to make an effort to understand the principles of homeopathy and master it in practice. But this does not prevent a motivated patient from reading this book and using it to get practical results. Therefore, do not shift the responsibility for your health and life onto the general instructions of the Ministry of Health, which the oncologist follows. With a thoughtful and informed approach to your problems, you can achieve better results.
Some oncologists prescribe homeopathy, absolutely not believing in it, explaining their appointment to other doctors by the fact that this is an excellent psychotherapy. After all, you need to prescribe something that is combined with the treatment, and homeopathy is an excellent option.
Usually sane oncologists do not mind the use of homeopathy as an additional treatment. If separate objections arise, they are based on the fear that the patient will replace the main treatment with homeopathy. But you will not do that? I am opposed to replacing the primary treatment with anything. This book is only about safe complementary treatment, which has long been used by advanced European experts, but is not common in Russia. Actually, the use of homeopathy as a safe complementary therapy is thus the European approach to the treatment of cancer.
The use of homeopathy is completely safe as adjunctive therapy under the following conditions:
1. Homeopathy is considered only as a supportive and complementary treatment to the main treatment by a specialist oncologist. In no place in this book is homeopathy implied and is not an alternative way to treat cancer with an oncologist!
2. The use of homeopathic treatment should not be a substitute for other supportive therapies - painkillers, antibiotics, growth factors, or antiemetics. Although the use of homeopathy can reduce the need for them and improves tolerance.
3. By “homeopathic treatment” is meant the use of homeopathic preparations prepared in a dilution of 2 over 6CH 3 or 12DH 4.
I always recommend, unless otherwise indicated, to use a 30CH 5 dilution (called the thirtieth hundredth dilution, sometimes just the thirtieth). In my opinion, the thirtieth hundred breeding is a great choice for starting any cure, it has several advantages:
1. It is more effective than low dilutions, its strength is sufficient to start any cure. Studies comparing dilution efficiencies have been carried out hundreds of times in 200 years, one of the last
2. To achieve the same result, it can be taken less frequently than low dilutions.
3. Higher dilutions than the thirtieth require a deeper analysis and understanding of the symptoms, and, as a result, specialist advice, long-term follow-up and regular feedback.
4. Thirtieth dilution is guaranteed not to interact at the chemical level with therapeutic cancer drugs.
So to summarize: homeopathy is a comprehensive safe complementary treatment.
Homeopathy is a regulatory therapy that quickly eliminates or reduces the side effects of heavy anti-cancer drugs and improves the tolerability of other treatments prescribed by the oncologist. The classical homeopathic approach implies a deep study of the human problem and providesaboutless support for the patient than a simple diagnosis treatment that does not take into account the individuality of the patient.
for exampletaking homeopathic remedies can reduce hair loss so much that it becomes invisible. This is very important for patients, especially girls and women. And always these small victories strengthen optimism and faith in the future.
Patients who use homeopathy in addition to the main treatment are much less likely to suffer from nausea and vomiting, they do not have to interrupt treatment due to poor blood counts. They suffer less from depression, mood swings and look with greater confidence tomorrow. All this helps them gain new strength in the struggle for their health.
To increase the success of your primary treatment, use the experience described in this book.
1Alternative medicine - replacement for another treatment.
Complementary medicine - complementary medicine.
2 Breeding (potentiation, potency) is a special way of preparing drugs that eliminates the toxicity of the starting substance while maintaining its healing properties. Or if the substance is inert, it acquires the healing properties described in the section Materia Medica.
3 CH - a hundred dilution according to Hahnemann, sometimes simply denoted simply C.
4 DH, sometimes denoted by D or the Roman numeral X - Hahnemann decimal dilution.
5 30CH - called the thirtieth hundred breeding, sometimes just the thirtieth.
5. Zou W, Yue P, Lin N, et al. Vitamin C inactivates the proteasome inhibitor PS-341 in human cancer cells. Clin Cancer Res 2006.12: 273-280.OpenUrlAbstract / FREE Full TextGoogle Scholar
6. Somasundaram S, Edmund NA, Moore DT, et al. Dietary curcumin inhibits chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in models of human breast cancer. Cancer Res 2002.62: 3868-3875. OpenUrlAbstract / FREE Full TextGoogle Scholar
7. Lectures by prof. Oncologist Bagot.
The effects of chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is the treatment of malignant tumors with large doses of toxic drugs that act on all actively dividing and growing cells. Chemotherapy blocks the reproduction and causes the death of such cells. However, not only tumors grow rapidly, but also bone marrow tissue, mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract, epithelium of the skin, hair and nails, and germ cells.
The following side effects of chemotherapy are caused by harmful effects on these tissues:
- hair loss,
- nausea, vomiting,
- fragility and fragility of nails,
- dry skin
- Temporary or permanent infertility
- constipation and diarrhea
- ulcers on the oral mucosa,
- bleeding disorders
- decreased immunity,
- urination disorders
Cells damaged by chemotherapy are restored some time after the end of the course. The duration of recovery depends on the state of the body, the stability of the cells and the type of drug that the patient received.
Side effects disappear after the end of the course of treatment, but some consequences after chemotherapy may bother the patient for several years if the drugs damage the heart, lungs, kidneys, and especially the reproductive organs.
The main thing is that the patient must remember and be fully aware that, despite side effects, chemotherapy drugs can save a person's life and cure a malignant tumor. You can protect yourself from some side effects (for example, infertility), and the alternative to such treatment is only a slow death from cancer.
Be sure to consult your doctor in advance about the side effects and consequences of the action of a particular group of drugs. If side effects occur, the doctor will prescribe drugs that can alleviate their symptoms. In an extreme case, the doctor can change the treatment regimen and replace some chemotherapy drugs with others.
The effect on reproductive function is largely dependent on the gender of the patient. Preparations of previous generations caused infertility in both sexes, regardless of whether the man or woman was treated. Modern drugs are more likely to cause infertility in men than in women. However, in only seventy percent of cases, young girls become pregnant after a course of chemotherapy without the help of reproductologists.
Not all chemotherapy drugs cause baldness, but this is a common side effect. The drugs affect the place where the hair root is located - the hair follicle, disrupting hair growth. Gradually, the hair becomes thinner and weaker and falls out, not only on the head, but also on the face, limbs, under the armpits and on the pubis.
For the most part, baldness is a psychological problem. It is especially difficult for women to lose beautiful and long hair. The following tips will help patients survive hair loss easier:
- Ask your doctor if the treatment regimen prescribed by him causes baldness. If yes, it is advisable to pre-attend to the purchase of a wig, this will allow you to choose its color to match your natural hair color.
- Pick up a medical shampoo for dry and damaged hair. Use a soft comb.
- Do not carry out aggressive procedures: do not use curlers, curling irons. In no case do a perm - this will finally ruin the already weakened hair.
- Cut your hair short in advance and wear a hat. If you feel uncomfortable, contact your relatives - they will always support you. And most importantly - remember that hair growth will be restored after the end of the course of treatment.
Nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting during a course of chemotherapy is associated with damage to chemotherapy drugs of the gastric mucosa or their effect on certain structures of the nervous system. This complication does not occur in all patients, and its manifestations vary in intensity.
If nausea bothers you for several days, consult your doctor. He will prescribe an antiemetic that will prevent or reduce nausea.
To relieve nausea and avoid vomiting, follow these tips:
- Reduce the amount of food by compensating for this with the frequency of meals.
- Eat slowly, chewing food thoroughly. Drink in small sips.
- Avoid coarse, sweet, greasy, spicy or salty foods.
- Do not eat hot - wait until the food has cooled to room temperature.
- If nausea bothers you in the morning, before you get up, eat some cookies or drink a glass of cool clarified juice without sugar.
- For severe nausea, try sucking an ice cube or lemon candy. However, if you have damage to your mouth, avoid anything acidic.
- Avoid pungent odors: cooking foods, cigarette smoke, perfumes. Try not to cook your own meals.
- After eating, do not go to bed - sit in an armchair, watch TV or read a book for a couple of hours.
- If you feel a strong frequency, take a few deep breaths and try to go to bed.
- Do not eat or drink for two hours before and after the administration of chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy disrupts the function of the bone marrow, due to which the number of red blood cells - red blood cells - decreases in the blood. Such anemia is called aplastic.
The main function of red blood cells is due to the fact that they contain hemoglobin - a red pigment that is able to carry oxygen from the lungs to other organs of the body. During a course of chemotherapy, the level of hemoglobin in the blood decreases, oxygen delivery decreases. This is what causes the main symptoms of anemia: weakness, fatigue and irritability.
The body is trying to compensate for the insufficient amount of oxygen in the blood - breathing and heart rate become more frequent, chills occur. If you feel this, consult your doctor.
During the course of treatment, the patient periodically passes a blood test. With a strong decrease in the level of red blood cells, the doctor will prescribe a blood or red blood cell transfusion to alleviate the patient's condition.
To deal with weakness and fatigue, follow these tips:
- Increase the duration of night sleep.
- Try to develop the habit of interrupting for a nap.
- Limit motor activity. Feel free to contact relatives and friends for help.
- Consume enough vitamins and iron.
- Do not change position too abruptly. In a person with a reduced concentration of oxygen in the blood, this can cause dizziness and fainting.
Fragility and fragility of nails
Nails, like hair follicles, are vulnerable to chemotherapy. From chemotherapy they darken, become brittle, brittle, longitudinal white stripes appear on them.
The only thing that can be recommended to the patient during a course of chemotherapy is to cut your nails shortly. If they begin to darken too much or exfoliate, consult a doctor - this is one of the signs of a fungal infection.
Dry and flaky skin
Chemotherapy drugs act on skin epithelial cells. Therefore, during the course of treatment, patients are often disturbed by dryness and peeling of the skin, and acne. Usually, the skin is restored after the end of treatment, but you need to take care of it - dry skin is very easy to crack, and cracks on it are the entrance gate for infection. The following tips will help you protect your skin:
- If acne appears on your skin, use a bactericidal soap when washing. The person after the toilet is not wiped, but get wet, after which it is advisable to use moisturizers.
- Take a warm shower. Cold and hot water damage the skin.
- Do not use cologne, perfumes, and aftershave products that contain alcohol.
- Use household rubber gloves when washing dishes and housework.
- Protect your skin from the sun. Wear cotton long-sleeved shirts outside and don’t forget about headgear.
If the skin is very itchy, a rash or hives has appeared on it, consult a doctor - this is a sign of an allergy to antitumor drugs.
Constipation and diarrhea
Gastrointestinal cells are vulnerable to chemotherapy. Therefore, a frequent side effect of chemotherapy is diarrhea. If diarrhea lasts longer than a day or is accompanied by pain, consult a doctor - he will prescribe the necessary medications.
During the course of chemotherapy, the patient is prescribed a strict diet and daily regimen. Sometimes the human body reacts to a decrease in the amount of food and a decrease in motor activity by constipation. If you cannot go to the toilet for more than two days, inform your doctor about this. If necessary, he will prescribe laxatives or an enema.
In a healthy person, the cells of the oral mucosa are quickly restored, so they are vulnerable to the effects of chemotherapy. Chemistry drugs cause dry mouth, cause irritation and ulcers on the mucosa. Stomatitis causes severe pain and contributes to the infection.
The following tips will help to avoid injury to the oral mucosa:
- Before starting treatment, visit your dentist to cure tooth decay and inflammatory diseases of the oral cavity. Remember that carious teeth are a chronic focus of streptococcal infection, which can cause blood poisoning.
- Brush your teeth after every meal. Use a soft brush. Consult a dentist, he will help you choose the right tools and explain the method of gentle brushing.
- Do not rinse your mouth with salt, soda or alcohol.
- Do not smoke - smoking dries and irritates the mucous membranes of the mouth.
- Do not eat hot foods or drink hot drinks. Avoid rough foods, preferring dairy products, vegetable and fruit purees, and soft fruits.
If during a course of anticancer treatment you have ulcers on the oral mucosa, consult your doctor. He will prescribe the necessary medicines that accelerate healing and reduce pain.
Blood clotting disorders
In a liter of adult blood, there are from two hundred to four hundred billion platelets. These are small blood plates that provide blood coagulation. They are produced by special cells of the red bone marrow - megakaryocytes.
Chemotherapy drugs disrupt the function of megakaryocytes, reducing the number of platelets, therefore, in patients during the course of treatment, the slightest damage causes significant bleeding. In addition, for no apparent reason, bruises can appear on the patient’s body, nosebleeds, or bleeding gums. Sometimes an admixture of blood appears in the urine or feces.
The level of platelets in the blood of a patient during the course of treatment is constantly monitored. When reduced to critical values, he is prescribed a platelet transfusion.
To avoid bleeding, observe the following precautions:
- Do not take aspirin or other antipyretic drugs without a doctor’s prescription. These drugs thin the blood and increase bleeding.
- Be careful when shaving, cooking, using scissors and needles.
- Refuse from physical exercises - bruises and sprains cause massive hemorrhages in patients with coagulation disorders.
- In no case do not drink alcoholic beverages.
Chemotherapy inhibits the formation of leukocytes in the red bone marrow - the cells by which the human body fights against infections. Thus, chemotherapy causes transient immunodeficiency.
During the course of treatment, the patient periodically undergoes a general blood test to monitor the number of white blood cells. If their level drops to critical values, the doctor will prescribe the necessary medications. In this case, the dose of chemotherapy is reduced, and the next course of treatment is postponed to a later time.
Avoiding infections is simple enough, for this, observe the following precautions:
- Do not contact people who have noticed signs of infectious diseases - cough, runny nose, rash. Avoid public transportation and places where there are usually a lot of people.
- Wash your hands before eating and after using the toilet.
- Use caution when shaving, cutting nails. It is advisable to switch to an electric razor to avoid cuts.
- Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush - it does not damage the gums so much.
- Take a warm shower daily. Use only soft sponges.
- Never squeeze acne. In a person with reduced immunity, this will lead to blood poisoning.
- If you accidentally injure yourself, immediately treat the damaged area with an antiseptic.
Signs of infection include fever, chills, coughing, runny nose, redness, and itching around the wound or injection site. If you have any signs of infection, see your doctor right away to give you a course of antibiotics.
Some chemotherapy drugs irritate the bladder and cause impaired renal function. If you feel pain or burning sensation when urinating, you will see blood in the urine, consult a doctor immediately.
Usually, to avoid irritation of the bladder, it is enough to consume a lot of fluids - still water, juices. However, it is worth remembering that a course of chemotherapy requires strict adherence to a diet, and only a doctor can prescribe you the norm of fluid intake per day.
It is worth remembering that some chemotherapy drugs change the color of urine. The doctor must warn you to avoid unpleasant surprises.
The amount of fluid in the body is regulated by hormones - vasopressin and aldosterone. Chemotherapy drugs cause hormonal changes that change the balance between fluid consumed and excreted in favor of its delay in the body. This is what causes edema.
If edema occurs, inform your doctor. He will review the diet by limiting fluid and salt intake and prescribe diuretics.
Consequences after chemotherapy in women
Chemicals, affecting the ovaries, inhibit the growth and development of follicles, damage the hereditary material of germ cells and cause hormonal disorders.
The most common side effect of chemotherapy drugs is menstrual irregularities and the cessation of menstruation. Menopause can be temporary - due to hormonal disorders, and permanent, the cause of which is exhaustion of the ovaries.
The number of eggs in women is limited. Throughout her life she experiences about four hundred menstrual cycles, which means that four hundred follicles go through the development cycle. Chemotherapy reduces the number of follicles, causing ovarian exhaustion.
Here the consequences depend on age: in girls under twenty years old, with a sufficient supply of follicles, menstruation is restored in seventy percent of cases. In women older than thirty, whose ovaries are already exhausted, only twenty.
However, pregnancy after chemotherapy is possible. By taking care of the cryopreservation of eggs, embryos or ovarian tissue in advance, infertility can be avoided. This should be done before treatment begins, since even one course of chemotherapy impairs the quality of the cells and changes the structure of the hereditary material. But even if the patient thought about possible infertility after the start of treatment, it is not too late to turn to reproductologists, although it is necessary to freeze the eggs as soon as possible.
You can use saved eggs at any time. The shelf life of the material is unlimited, and children born using canned eggs will not differ in any way from those conceived in a natural way.
It is very important to use contraceptives or to exclude sexual contacts during the course of treatment in order to avoid unwanted pregnancy. A woman should definitely consult a doctor in this regard, as chemotherapy drugs cause malformations in children.
Side effects of chemotherapy on the developing fetus are so strong that if a woman is diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy, the treatment is delayed until delivery.
How to save ova and sperm
First of all, you need to get the advice of a reproductologist. Then the patient receives a referral to a spermogram and a test that shows how the sperm cells tolerate freezing.
After receiving the results, the man donates blood for HIV, hepatitis and syphilis and, if their results are negative, donates seminal fluid. Storage of seminal fluid costs from 3,500 rubles per year, depending on the sperm bank. It is better to contact specialized reprobanks, rather than IVF clinics. The Reprobank has better conditions for storing frozen biomaterial and is much cheaper than the price.
Egg delivery is much more difficult. A woman will have to undergo a course of hormonal stimulation in order to get not one egg, but ten. Then the eggs are taken from the ovary, under anesthesia, a thin needle is inserted through the vagina. In some cases, hormonal stimulation is contraindicated, therefore, consultation and approval of an oncologist is necessary.
To save the eggs allows a special method - vitrification. This is ultra-fast freezing, in which the solution in which the object is located does not crystallize, but passes into a glass-like state. This is the reason for the name - from the Latin language “vitrum” is translated as glass.
Vitrification does not damage the eggs and allows you to save 99% of them for an unlimited period. There are cases when the eggs were used for fertilization thirteen years after freezing.
Oncology and pregnancy
If the diagnosis of infertility in a couple is associated with the consequences of chemotherapy, and they have not previously donated biomaterial to a bank of reproductive tissues, they will have to use donor eggs or sperm.
In this case, the child will be similar to his biological parents, but if you make a detailed list of criteria and select a donor according to them, you can achieve the maximum similarity of the biological parent with those who need a donation.
Conceive a child using pre-frozen or donated sperm can be through intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization. If a woman has been treated with chemotherapy, she will have to use IVF.
Intrauterine insemination is a method in which pre-prepared sperm is introduced into the woman’s uterus through a catheter with a syringe. The probability of success with this method is fifteen to thirty percent, depending on the clinic. The procedure takes place in several stages:
- Follicle growth stimulation. From the third day of the menstrual cycle, the patient takes hormonal drugs that stimulate the conversion of follicles into an egg.
- Determination of the day of ovulation. With the help of continuous ultrasound monitoring, the development of follicles is monitored and the day of ovulation is determined - the exit of the egg from the ovary into the abdominal cavity.
- Seed Treatment. Sperm cells are separated from the liquid part of the ejaculate, the most motile and active ones are selected, transferred to a nutrient medium.
- Insemination. Through a special catheter, the treated semen is injected into the patient’s uterus with a syringe, after which it is at rest for some time.
- Pregnancy test. If the procedure was successful, after three to four weeks the pregnancy test, which the woman will do, will be positive. Then, to exclude an ectopic pregnancy, an ultrasound examination is done.
The peculiarity of IVF is that the fertilization of the egg takes place in the laboratory. The probability of success at the first attempt is from forty to sixty percent, which is significantly higher than with intrauterine insemination. The procedure takes place in several stages:
- Ovum fertilization. Donor eggs are fertilized in the laboratory with the sperm of a husband or donor. The resulting embryos are checked for genetic abnormalities and, if necessary, frozen.
- Cultivation. The embryos that have been tested are cultured in test tubes for three to six days.
- Transplantation. On the seventeenth day of the menstrual cycle, two embryos are inserted into the woman’s uterus through a special thin catheter. The rest are frozen in case the patient's body rejects the embryos.
- Supportive therapy. In order for the embryo to take root normally, the patient is injected with hormonal drugs.
If donor eggs are used during fertilization, the patient is prescribed a course of hormonal drugs to synchronize her menstrual cycle with the donor cycle and prepare the mucous membrane for implantation. This is important, because incomplete synchronization of cycles is the main cause of failure in IVF with a donor egg.
Chemotherapy treatment and tips for reducing side effects
What is the effectiveness of chemotherapy for breast cancer? What is its mechanism? In what cases is she prescribed?
Chemotherapy for breast cancer in oncology is not out of date, despite the new methods and technologies used today. Moreover, cancer chemotherapy has reached a qualitatively new stage in its development.
In the treatment of breast cancer, drug therapy currently plays a paramount role. And after surgery, chemotherapy is prescribed to destroy the remaining tumor cells.
All drugs used to treat tumors are sometimes called “cytostatics,” and chemotherapy is called “cytostatic therapy.”
The term “tumor chemotherapy” refers to all types of cancer treatment carried out by pharmacological agents that have a detrimental effect on tumor cells.
The mechanism of this effect is different, but all these drugs have a finite focus on damage to tumor cells.
Chemotherapy depending on the route of administration of the drug may be systemic (drugs are administered intramuscularly, intravenously, subcutaneously, through the mouth or through the rectum), regional (препараты вводят в сосуды, питающие опухоль) или local , когда лекарство в виде мази наносят на опухоль или в виде раствора вводят в полости.
All antitumor drugs have common features formulated by the founder of domestic chemotherapy, Professor Leonid Fedorovich Larionov.
So, the sensitivity of tumors of various organs to a particular drug is very different. A medicine can heal a tumor in the lymphatic system and be completely ineffective in stomach cancer. The higher the mass of the tumor, the weaker the effect of the drug. Finally, tumor metastases are easier to treat with drugs than she is, and metastases to different organs (of the same tumor) have different sensitivity to the action of antitumor drugs.
To succeed in the treatment of cancer with drugs, you need to know not only these subtleties and have an idea of the biochemistry of tumors, but also take into account the individual characteristics of the body of the tumor carrier.
Therefore, in oncology, such a direction as chemotherapy of tumors has been distinguished. This is done by chemotherapists. All of them have tremendous experience in treating cancer, and only they can effectively prescribe an individual treatment, taking into account the characteristics of the tumor and your body.
Why does chemotherapy for breast tumors in some cases not help? What are the reasons for this phenomenon?
In humans, there are tumors that are not amenable to treatment with any of the currently known drugs. Researchers have discovered in some tumors the “multidrug resistance” gene, which determines the resistance of the tumor to many drugs.
In addition, tumor cells fight for their lives and often they manage to acquire resistance to a particular drug during treatment. The mechanisms of this stability are different.
For example, for one reason or another, the drug penetrates poorly into the cells of the malignant tumor, or its concentration is insufficient to damage the tumor cells, since it penetrates poorly from the injection site. Finally, due to the large size of the tumor itself and the poor development of blood vessels in it, it is not possible to bring the necessary amount of cytostatic agent to the tumor. Various biochemical and metabolic processes in the tumor can also cause insufficient accumulation of a chemotherapeutic drug in it.
Currently, scientists are developing various options for overcoming the resistance of malignant neoplasms to chemotherapy.
Does cancer chemotherapy have side effects? How do they manifest?
Like radiation treatment, chemotherapy is a "double-edged sword". Medicines that can kill cancer cells also damage healthy ones, which leads to the development of various side effects, many of which require thorough treatment in the future.
A number of negative consequences of the use of certain drugs for the treatment of breast cancer sometimes manifests itself from the first hours of its administration. Some (far from all!) Anticancer drugs cause nausea and vomiting, fever or lower blood pressure, as well as allergic reactions.
But the most dangerous complications of chemotherapy requiring close attention are inhibition of blood formation (a decrease in the number of blood cells), the development of diarrhea (diarrhea), and damage to various organs and mucous membranes. A very unpleasant consequence of treatment with cytostatics is their damage to the hair follicles, which further leads to hair loss, up to baldness. Fortunately, in 80% of cases, hair grows again.
The most dangerous complication of chemotherapy is the suppression of hematopoiesis, since most drugs affect the bone marrow and deprive it of the ability to produce hematopoietic cells. Therefore, the number of formed elements in the blood decreases: white blood cells (white blood cells) and platelets (blood plates involved in blood coagulation processes). Such changes in the blood are dangerous, first of all, by the addition of infections. A person becomes vulnerable to various viruses and microbes, since the body's immune system is not able to effectively fight them.
The use of anticancer drugs often causes the development of stomatitis and frequent loose stools. The mechanism of this complication is similar to the damaging effect of radiation therapy. The medicine damages not only tumor cells, but also healthy mucous membranes: the oral cavity, intestines, etc. Microflora dies in the intestine under the influence of chemotherapeutic drugs.
Thus, the side effects caused by radiation and chemotherapeutic treatment (paradoxical as it sounds) are very similar. This circumstance makes similar and countermeasures to the side effects of these therapeutic measures.
Can side effects of chemotherapy be reduced?
Of course, during the period of antitumor treatment with cytostatics, the patient is under the vigilant attention of the attending physician, who needs to report all changes in health. In addition, almost all antitumor drugs “require” a thorough analysis of the state of the blood and various organs of the body at regular intervals.
Naturally, a doctor will prescribe the correction of impaired functions and organs with the help of medications, which will prescribe an auxiliary treatment strictly individually.
The following recommendations will help you reduce the toxic effects of these measures during chemotherapy:
• as with radiation treatment, you should not starve during chemotherapy,
• there should be enough protein in food (boiled meat, fish, eggs, soy, etc.),
• you need to drink at least 2 liters of fluid per day (green tea, juices, fruit drinks).
How can I help with damage to the oral mucosa with radiation and / or chemotherapy?
If there are signs of stomatitis (tingling in the mouth when taking acidic and salty foods, the appearance of bubbles on the mucous membrane of the oral cavity, swelling and redness of the gums, salivation), the same measures should be taken as during the period of radiation therapy (see above):
• rinsing the oral cavity for 5 minutes at least 8-10 times a day with herbal decoctions or ready-made tinctures (rotokan, romazulan), antiseptics (chlorhexidine, myramramistine, furatsillin),
• you can treat the oral cavity with an old tried-and-tested product: dilute one egg white in a glass of boiled water,
• with the development of ulcerative stomatitis, carry out the same measures as in the case of the same complication after radiation therapy (see above).
If frequent or loose stools occur during or after chemotherapy, what do you need to know and how can this condition be alleviated?
If frequent loose stool occurs during or after chemotherapy, you can perform the same measures as with diarrhea after irradiation:
• Make nutrition adjustments: reduce the amount of carbohydrates in food, it should be high-calorie, rich in protein (for example, soy, boiled fish or meat, eggs), limit the intake of fresh vegetables and fruits (with the exception of bananas and asparagus). The food should be at room temperature or warm, it should be taken often and in small portions. It is necessary to abandon carbonated drinks, milk and dairy products.
The famous oncologist-chemotherapist, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, doctor of medical sciences, professor M. L. Gershanovich recommends heavy drinking (up to 2-3 liters per day) when controlling vomiting. He suggests preparing a solution of the following composition.
For 1 liter of boiled cold water, take 1 teaspoon of table salt, 1 teaspoon of drinking soda, 4 tbsp. tablespoons of sugar and 1 cup of fruit juice (preferably apple, grapefruit, blackcurrant or chokeberry). Additionally, you can drink decoctions, extracts and infusions of chamomile, St. John's wort, oak bark.
• The locking effect can be achieved using enveloping anti-inflammatory drugs that protect the intestinal mucosa: attapulgite (kaopectate, neointestopan, reaban) and diosmectite (smecta). After taking these drugs, which settle on the intestinal wall, other drugs can be taken no earlier than one and a half to two hours, since their absorption is impaired (see above).
• The death of intestinal microflora is one of the causes of diarrhea (diarrhea), therefore, after reducing the frequency of stools, it is necessary to start restoring the intestinal flora. Restoration treatment should be started a week before the end of the chemotherapy course. Its duration is 30–45 days.
The main drug is bifidumbacterin. It has no contraindications and side effects, that is, it is completely harmless. It is necessary to take this drug in 5 doses 2-3 times a day.
Use a food supplement called Fervital (BioSorb) with food. This promotes better engraftment of bacteria and regulates stool. Fervital (BioSorb) is added to food (soup, porridge, kefir) for 1 tbsp. spoon three times a day (see above). It is advisable to do this for a month. In the future, it is useful to periodically add this supplement to food, which is not only an enterosorbent, but also a source of pectin and other dietary fiber, as well as vitamins.
• It is possible to take lactobacterin 5 doses 2 times a day (only 2-3 weeks) simultaneously with bifidumbacterin and BioSorb. Restoring intestinal microflora needs to be given great attention, since the state of your immunity and other health indicators depend on it.
Is it possible to avoid hair loss during chemotherapy? What are its consequences?
Many patients, especially women, are concerned about the problem of hair loss (alopecia) as a result of chemotherapy. Alopecia often accompanies treatment with doxorubicin, but can also be observed in 10-30% of patients who are treated with cyclophosphamide, vepezide, thiophosphamide and teniposide. After the end of cytostatic therapy, hair is restored in almost all patients.
To date, there are no effective measures to prevent this complication. Some authors propose methods for cooling the scalp using a helmet with cold elements, used before and after the introduction of cytostatics. This causes vasoconstriction and reduces the flow of medicine to the hair follicles. However, the method turned out to be unjustified, since the cold effect on patients weakened by the tumor process leads to the development of inflammatory processes in the nasal and frontal sinuses.
How to prevent nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy or combined treatment of patients with breast tumors?
To reduce nausea, you can suck a slice of lemon. For vomiting, use the drug "Emiset" (India) or "Emetron" (Hungary). As a rule, one tablet is enough to prevent vomiting.
Are there any contraindications to chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy, by virtue of its mechanism of action, has a number of contraindications.
A contraindication to chemotherapy can be a sharp weakening of the patient's body resistance with the development of severe exhaustion (cachexia). Treatment with cytostatics with severe side effects is not carried out in the presence of severe diseases of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, liver and kidneys, as well as with a pronounced spread of the tumor process.