What is Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is a form of cancer treatment that destroys cancerous cells. It is typically the primary choice in cancer treatment but can be used in combination with other treatment such as surgery or radiation. Most commonly, a medical oncologist, who specializes in treating cancer with medication, will administer the chemotherapy to patients.
Chemotherapy aims to target and remove malignant cells that contain cancer. At times, chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well. This causes patients to experience side effects and have healthy cells in their hair follicles, gastrointestinal tract, and bone marrow to be negatively affected.
Chemotherapy Side Effects
There are both long and short-term side effects as well as external and internal side effects of receiving chemotherapy. Side effects of chemotherapy are common since treatment damages both healthy and malignant cells. Once healthy cells begin to recover, after treatment has stopped, many side effects become less severe or end. Our staff at Summit Healthcare Cancer Center will discuss how to cope with any side effects that can occur before you begin treatment. Short-term side effects include:
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dry Mouth
- Hair Loss
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
Some side effects of chemotherapy do not appear until months or years after treatment has ended. These side effects are less common and vary based on the type of chemotherapy drug that was used.
- Heart problems
- Kidney problems
- Lung-tissue damage
- Nerve damage
- Risk of a second cancer
There are a variety of treatment options for chemotherapy. In the past, chemotherapy was dispensed intravenously but more recently oral medication options have become more common. Factors such as type, stage, and location of cancer dictate the type of chemotherapy a patient may receive. Our skilled staff at Summit Healthcare Cancer Center will discuss these options with you during your consultation.
- By injection into the muscle or fatty tissue
- Intravenously, through a vein into the bloodstream
- Intra-arterially, into the artery supplying blood to the cancer
- Intraperitoneally, into the peritoneal cavity of the abdomen
- Orally, as a pill, capsule, or liquid
- Topically, for some skin cancers
Summit Healthcare Chemotherapy Department
Here, at Summit Healthcare Cancer Center, we pride ourselves on our welcoming chemotherapy department and knowledgeable oncology nurses. Our mission is to provide pharmaceutical treatment to our clients in an outpatient setting, consistent with the hospital-wide quality of care practice standards. The chemotherapy department supports the transfer from inpatient acute care services to outpatient care, working with discharge planners and physicians to allow a smooth transition for the patient. We also work with physician offices and other hospitals to provide outpatient services for their patients.
Our department sees approximately 4,800 patients per year. Patients have stated how much they love the “family environment” in our chemotherapy department. They enjoy coming in for their treatments because they are treated like family. We care for our patients at our “new and improved” unit. Patients have access to a chair that fully reclines, music, books, an aquarium, surround sound, and friendly distractions to help them get through their day.
Our Qualified Oncology Nurses
Our oncology-certified nurses have met or exceeded requirements for practice in cancer care, have completed education in oncology nursing, and have a tested knowledge of the specialty. Certification in oncology nursing is based on current professional practice, so it validates a nurse’s knowledge is up-to-date. As cancer treatments become more complex, patients will require increasingly specialized care. Oncology certified nurses have both the knowledge and experience to deliver that care effectively.
In order to be eligible to test for an OCN, an RN must have a minimum of 1,000 hours of oncology nursing practice and have completed 10 contact hours of accredited continuing education in oncology nursing. If accepted, the RN must then pass a rigorous exam in order to become Oncology Nursing Certified.
Schedule a Consultation
For more information on Chemotherapy, contact our Show Low office. Call us at 928.537.6937 to schedule a consultation at Summit Health Care.