Explain the process of chemotherapy and why during this procedure the patient loses his/her hair? Kindly answer sir/mam.
Chemo is different for every patient. A typical process would be to spend 1 day in the hospital for the doctor to surgically put in a 'port', usually in the upper chest / shoulder area. This makes the intravenous process of chemo much easier. The next step is when chemo actually starts. Again, this all depends on the type of cancer and the stage of the cancer. Chemo can be anywhere from 2 hours to 7 hours. The setting is typically an oncologist office in/near the hospital. It's a large room where the chemo patients get their treatments. You can wear your own clothes, just wear a loose top so the nurse can access the port for the chemo. Normally, the first treatment can make you tired dizzy (from the stress too, being the 1st time). I would suggest, for the patients sake, being dropped off and picked up at least the first time. The patient should bring snacks and a book, or something to pass the time as it's kind of boring sitting in there, unless there are other patients to chat with if the patient chooses to. After chemo treatments, typically the patient will get a couple of weeks 'off' for rest. Most of the time this is followed up with radiation treatments. Again, this is all dependent on the type of cancer the patient has, and what has been decided by the medical team and the patient. Hair loss occurs because chemotherapy can sometimes damage healthy cells. Chemo affect a cell when it splits (in order to affect the cancer cells which split fast), healthy cells which splits faster than others (hair, nails, skin and other " fast changing/healing/ growing" cells) will be affected as well during the treatment. Hair growth starts in an area of your hair follicles called your hair matrix. In this area, epithelial cells constantly are dividing to create the fibers of your hair. These epithelial cells are one of the fastest growing cell populations in your entire body. When chemotherapy drugs (not all have an effect on your hair) enter your system, they cannot tell the difference between a cancer cell and a healthy body cell. The only thing they recognize is how fast the cell is dividing. Chemo targets any cell in the body that is growing and multiplying at an indreased rate. As we grow into adults, cells are constantly dividing to help the body grow and develop. Once adulthood is reached, most of these cells become dormant and stop dividing. Some cells, such as the cells that grow and produce hair, continue to grow and divide at an increased rate to replenish natural hair growth.
Importantly, the use of drugs (whether chemotherapy, hormonal therapy or targeted therapy) constitutes systemic therapy for cancer in that they are introduced into the blood stream and are therefore in principle able to address cancer at any anatomic location in the body. Systemic therapy is often used in conjunction with other modalities that constitute local therapy (i.e. treatments whose efficacy is confined to the anatomic area where they are applied) for cancer such as radiation therapy, surgery or hyperthermia therapy.
Traditional chemotherapeutic agents are cytotoxic by means of interfering with cell division (mitosis) but cancer cells vary widely in their susceptibility to these agents. To a large extent, chemotherapy can be thought of as a way to damage or stress cells, which may then lead to cell death if apoptosis is initiated. Many of the side effects of chemotherapy can be traced to damage to normal cells that divide rapidly and are thus sensitive to anti-mitotic drugs: cells in the bone marrow, digestive tract and hair follicles. This results in the most common side-effects of chemotherapy: myelosuppression (decreased production of blood cells, hence also immunosuppression), mucositis (inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract), and alopecia (hair loss). Because of the effect on immune cells (especially lymphocytes), chemotherapy drugs often find use in a host of diseases that result from harmful overactivity of the immune system against self (so-called autoimmunity). These include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, vasculitis and many others.