What is chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs. These drugs are designed to interfere with and halt the growth of rapidly dividing cancer cells in the body. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), we work closely with our patients to meet your individual needs before, during and after chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is an important part of treatment for many of our patients. Our physicians use leading treatment protocols and practice evidence-based medicine. In some cases, we may use innovative delivery methods to treat advanced stage cancer.
We strive to find the right chemotherapy drug, or combination of drugs, for each person. We may use tests, such as tumor molecular profiling, to identify an effective drug combination for your disease and help you avoid unnecessary toxicity.
We also understand that chemotherapy can have unpleasant side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, hair loss, fatigue and mouth sores. We will work with the rest of your care team to help you prevent or manage these side effects.
In addition, throughout your treatment, we will continually monitor the effectiveness of your chemotherapy regimen with physical exams, blood tests and imaging scans.
Chemotherapy medical animation
Video: Chemotherapy Medical AnimationMedical animation
Chemotherapy for testicular cancer
Your oncologists may use chemotherapy may be used after surgery to destroy any remaining testicular cancer cells. Chemotherapy may also be used to treat advanced testicular cancers that have spread to other organs, or that have come back after surgery.
In some cases, a more intensive chemotherapy regimen in combination with a stem cell transplant may be recommended. If testicular cancer chemotherapy may be an option for you, your care team at CTCA will work together to select the right type of chemotherapy and to develop an individualized treatment plan.
High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplantation for testicular cancer
High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplantation is sometimes recommended for testicular cancer that has come back after previous treatment.
One of the limitations of standard chemotherapy is the effect on normal cells within the body, particularly the blood cells which play a vital role in protecting the body from infections, carrying oxygen to organs throughout the body and clotting the blood in the case of a cut. These effects normally limit the dose of the chemotherapy drug that can be used. However, in some cases doctors can use much higher doses of chemotherapy if they replace the damaged blood cells through a stem cell transplant.
In this procedure, doctors collect normal blood-forming stem cells from your bloodstream for several weeks before you undergo chemotherapy. These stem cells are saved and frozen. Then, after the high-dose chemotherapy is administered, you receive an infusion of your own stem cells, which settle in your bone marrow and begin making new blood cells again.
If high-dose chemotherapy for testicular cancer may be an option for you, your care team will explain the process in detail, including potential risks and benefits, and answer all of your questions so that you can make an informed decision.