Chemotherapy is the most common type of cancer treatment in the world. However, it is not the only type of cancer treatment available, neither is it the only type of treatment that some patients need. Some patients might require surgery or radiation therapy, and they might take it during, before, or after chemotherapy.
Traditional chemotherapy can be painful because of the injections and is usually intravenous. However, oral chemotherapy has changed all that.
What is oral chemotherapy?
Oral chemotherapy is treatment administered orally in the form of pills or liquids. The treatment works the same way as traditional chemotherapy meaning it kills or slows down the growth of cancer cells extending a patient’s life. Like conventional chemotherapy, you must have a prescription from a doctor to take this medication. The dosage and length of treatment will vary depending on the type and severity of the illness. That’s why you need to visit a doctor in an Adelaide private hospital for proper instructions.
Advantages of oral chemotherapy
Perhaps the most tedious thing about traditional chemotherapy is the constant trips to the hospital even when you are not feeling your best. With oral chemotherapy, you can take the medication at home, making it the more convenient option. You don’t have to mess up your daily schedule like take a day off work to take medicine. For some patients, this helps improve their psychological health during treatment.
Oral chemotherapy to some patients means fewer blood draws. This is good news if you don’t like needles. Another advantage is how you will experience side effects. Some patients say that the side effects are not as severe as traditional chemotherapy, especially when taking a daily dose. However, they are more consistent compared to IV chemotherapy.
Disadvantages of oral chemotherapy
Did you know that only 50% of patients remember to take their oral medication? Cancer treatment requires discipline in taking the medication and keeping doctor’s appointments. Unfortunately, with oral chemotherapy, it’s easy for a patient to forget to take their medicine. Missing a dose or taking tablets too close together can lead to other complications during treatment.
With traditional chemotherapy, which is done in an Adelaide private hospital in case of a severe reaction or any medical emergency, the doctors can attend to you quickly. It’s not the same with oral chemotherapy, which you can take from anywhere. In case of a severe reaction from the oral medication, you will have to be rushed to the hospital.
Your insurance provider might not cover oral chemotherapy. Many insurance companies have prescription drug coverage, and being relatively new; oral chemotherapy drugs might not be on the list. If they are, it may still be a slower process compared to conventional chemotherapy. A pharmacy might require proof of confirmation that your insurance provider has approved the drugs. Paying cash for oral chemotherapy tablets might cost anywhere from $6000-$12000 per month, which most people can’t afford.
Oral chemotherapy might be a good option for you. However, before you opt for this treatment, ensure that you consult your doctor, especially if you are undergoing multiple types of treatment.