Chemotherapy is a form of drug therapy which uses chemical substances to kill fast growing cells in the body. As carcinogenesis involves rapidly growing cells, chemotherapy is used as cancer treatment with one or more combinations of anticancer drugs given as standardised regimen.

In carcinoma breast primary modality of treatment is surgery. Chemotherapy is used as an adjunct modality in the form of neoadjuvant (before surgery) or adjutant (after surgery) therapy. 

Advantages of chemotherapy: 

It helps in systemic clearance of the cancer cells and micro metastasis. When used as a neoadjuvant therapy it helps in decreasing tumour burden and reduction in stage of the disease. It gives an opportunity for the patient to undergo breast conservative surgery.

Side effect of chemotherapy: 

As the drugs used in chemotherapy are strong chemicals, they have numerous toxic effects.

GI toxicity like vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, constipation. Appetite change, alopecia (hair loss), fatigue, infections, skin rashes, easy bruising, bone marrow suppression, megaloblastic anaemia, mouth sores, nephritis, cystitis, cardiac toxicity, psychological effects like anxiety, depression etc.

Management of side effects

Diet management:

Intake of plenty of fluids, small frequent meals, avoiding caffeine, reduced intake of fatty foods. Vitamins and trace elements supplements have to be continued. 

Exercise is tolerated to maintain optimal level of function.

Hair loss is one of the most distressing side effects of chemotherapy. Coping up with it mainly depends on the patient’s acceptance. Cutting the hair short before the start of the treatment, use of scarfs, caps and wigs can be advised.

Adequate psychological counselling of the patient, family support, maintaining a positive environment for the patient during the course helps to build up the morale of the patient.

Regular check-ups with investigations and follow up with the doctors has to be done to prevent any serious adverse effects and recurrence of the disease.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Nanda Rajaneesh

MBBS, MS, MRCS(Edinburgh), AFCRSI(Colorectal); FICS, FAMS Fellowship in – Fellowship in Bariatric surgery from St. Nicolas Belgium, Fellowship in Pancreatic surgery in Heidelberg, Fellowship in Research ethics Harvard: An eminent surgeon, endowed with rich and diverse experience and distinguished academic record, has established herself as a Specialist in Breast surgery, Minimal invasive Gastrointestinal surgery (Laparoscopy) and Surgical Oncology.

She has acquired many degrees through extensive training in surgical field and is member of royal college of surgeons. She has also trained many surgeons in medical institutions, technical skills to many surgeons in the country through workshops. Her keen interest in Cancer Surgery prompted her to seek further specialization and training in GI Surgical Oncology from the prestigious Tata Memorial Institute Mumbai and from Heidelberg University Hospital. She worked in breast cancer Unit in Tata hospital Mumbai. Dr. Nanda, constantly sought to upgrade her technical knowledge by updating herself with the latest courses and Fellowships such as Laparoscopic Surgery, Micro-vascular Surgery, Colorectal Surgery and Surgical Oncology.

Dr. Nanda has extensively involved in treating breast cancers and bringing awareness on breast cancer prevention. In her 20 years of extensive service. She has performed more than 15000 surgeries. Her approach to breast cancer involves understanding patient problems and counselling them to accept the particular issue related to breast cancer. She has many publications in indexed journals.

Present positions:
⦁ Consultant GI surgery & Breast surgery, Apollo Spectra Group, Bangalore
⦁ Consultant Bariatric surgery & Breast surgery Sakra world Hospital, Bangalore
⦁ Medical Director & Adviser at Carer group
⦁ Board of adviser in Irrilac
⦁ Medical adviser 103T

Awards:
⦁ Selected as International travelling fellow from Colorectal Associations of India for a visit to Birmingham Heartland Hospital
⦁ Travel Award at International Gastrointestinal Conference in Barcelona 2005
⦁ Best teachers Award in Karnataka state 2013

Special Mention:                                                                                                                                                                            “Pink Hope” a book written by Ms.Beena on Breast Cancer journey of her mother and Sara the character is dedicated on her.

Contact Details:
www.drnandarajaneesh.com
(M): +91 9845090352


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