Aim of Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy can be given to completely cure a cancer or can be given before or after surgery or radiotherapy. It may be given in the advanced stage as a palliative treatment. The objectives of the treatment depend on the stage of the cancer.
► To cure cancer- In certain cancers, like acute leukemia or testicular cancers, chemotherapy can achieve a complete cure. Sometimes chemotherapy is given in combination with radiotherapy.This is known as chemo-irradiation or chemoradiotherapy.
► Before surgery (or) Neo-adjuvant therapy - Sometimes when a tumor is large, there occurs a need to reduce its size before surgery. Chemotherapy is then employed to reduce the tumor size, and this is known as primary chemotherapy or neo-adjuvant therapy.
► To reduce recurrance after surgery (or) adjuvant therapy – Chemotherapy is sometimes carried out after surgery or radiotherapy. This is to destroy the remaining cancer cells that have escaped destruction.This treatment is called adjuvant therapy.
► To control cancer by reducing symptoms (or) Palliative chemotherapy - When a complete cure is not possible, as in the case of advanced cancers, chemotherapy helps to shrink the cancer and reduce the symptoms. This helps to usher in better quality of life and increase the chances of survival. This mode of therapy is known as palliative chemotherapy.