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Different Types of Chemotherapy

Kate Savage

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Nowadays chemotherapy is found to be the best treatment to kill cancer cells. A combination of different drugs is used to destroy major number of cancerous cells. Some side effects like weight loss, memory loss, hair fall, nausea and so on may occur due to chemotherapy treatment and these drugs can also damage healthy cells.

There are various types of cancers and every type requires different drugs at different stages. Before going through chemotherapy treatment, drugs used in it should be tested in clinical trials to prove its effectiveness. It's side effects also depend on other conditions like age and health of patient.

Following are the types of chemotherapy:

  • Alkylating medications: Alkylating agents block DNA replication of cancer cells, which can destroy cancer cells at any phase of cancer. These drugs are commonly used for cancer of ovaries, breast and lungs. Some alkylating agents are alkylsulfonates: busulfan, metal carboplatin, oxalipaltin, salts: cispaltin and many more are used in chemotherapy treatment.
  • Anti-tumor antibiotics: These are natural products produced by soil fungus streptomycin. Anti tumor antibiotics work during the multiple phases of cancer cell cycle. Some examples of anti-tumor antibiotics are mitomycin, plicamyacin, dactinomycin etc.
  • Antimetabolite medications: It effectively blocks the enzymes found within the cancerous cells. Antimetabolite medication works by interfering with DNA and RNA growth. These drugs are very effective during Synthesis phase of cell cycle.
  • Anti-tumor Antibiotic medications: It works interfering with DNA of cancerous cell. This interference blocks the enzymes and changes the cell membrane of cancerous cells and also interrupts cell division.
  • Plant alkaloids: These are naturally produced from herbs and shrubs. Plant alkaloids like vinca, taxanes, paclitaxel, docetaxel, etc are used to treat cancer cells.
  • Anthracyclines: Anthracyclines interfere with enzymes required to reproduce the DNA. Some anti-tumor antibiotics and non-particular antibiotics are used to cure different types of cancer. Doxorubicin, bleomycin and mitomycin are examples of some drugs used for chemotherapy treatment.
  • Topoisomerase inhibitors: It plays important role in controlling the exploitation of DNA structure. Topotecan, etoposide phosphate, ironotecan and teniposide are some examples of drugs used during this type of chemotherapy treatment.

You can also read different types of chemotherapy and website provides detailed information on chemotherapy and its side effects.


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