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Chemotherapy (Cancer Chemotherapy)

Cancer is a serious disease that tends to kill by causing metastases that disrupt the normal functioning of the organ in which it develops. To metastasize, cancer cells multiply rapidly in a manner completely opposite to apoptosis, a kind of cellular suicide that occurs in multicellular organisms (human for instance) by which cells activate their self-destruction. Detected early, these tumor cells can be removed or destroyed by surgery and/or radiotherapy. In cases where the cancer is diagnosed at an advanced or metastatic stage, treatments such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy or immunotherapy are necessary.

Chemotherapy is one of the top cancer therapies. It can be used to treat metastatic cancers in order to prolong life or non-aggressive cancers to increase the chance of complete recovery. Another benefit of chemotherapy is that it attacks cancer cells in the entire organism, unlike surgical therapy and radiation therapy.

Cancer chemotherapy is a therapeutic procedure consisting of using powerful chemicals that can kill cells that multiply and grow too quickly, the main character of cancer cells. These chemical agents act by damaging the DNA of the malignant cells prevent them from passing down their tumoral characteristic to daughter cells. In other words, chemotherapy drugs impede the reproduction of cancer cells. Since normal cells become cancerous by degradation of DNA, by affecting their DNA, these tumor cells become unable to multiply and eventually die. 

Unfortunately, by attacking cancer cells, non-cancerous cells that grow quickly are also affected. Normally, cell division is a natural process of the body. Some cells divide during mitosis (cellular division of a single parent cell to two daughter cells ) to repair cellular damage; they are more likely to resist the toxicity of chemotherapy. Other cells such as white blood cells, platelets, as well as cells of the tissues of the scalp, skin, and the digestive tract are less resistant to chemotherapy; they tend to die during treatment. This triggers a series of adverse effects in the majority of patients – for more information, see Chemotherapy Side Effects.