Oral chemotherapy offers cancer patients greater flexibility and freedom while receiving the same drugs that they would get by coming into Jordan Valley Cancer Center for intravenous chemotherapy. For oral chemotherapy dispensing, we partner with Utah Cancer Specialists, Utah’s largest community-based oncology practice. The experienced medical oncologists at Jordan Valley partner with radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists and other cancer care professionals to develop strong cancer treatment plans that are custom-tailored to each patient’s unique needs. No two cancers are alike – and neither are any two cancer treatment plans.
What Is Oral Chemotherapy Dispensing?
Oral chemotherapy allows patients to take chemotherapy drugs at home, in the form of a pill or liquid, instead of going into a clinic to receive intravenous treatment. By opting for oral chemotherapy, patients can avoid time spent traveling and connected to an IV. Many patients prefer oral chemotherapy for the freedom it allows them.
“Chemotherapy” refers to the use of drugs that destroy fast-growing cells. Cancer cells replicate and grow faster than normal, healthy cells. This can result in the formation of a tumor and/or lead to a cancer metastasizing (spreading) to other areas of the body. While some forms of chemotherapy are able to discriminate some between healthy and cancerous cells, many forms of chemo kill healthy fast-growing cells like hair and blood cells in addition to cancerous cells. Of course, the ultimate goal of oral chemotherapy is to primarily kill cancerous cells.
Reasons to Have Chemotherapy
Talk to your physician(s) and Nurse Navigator at Jordan Valley Cancer Center about why you are receiving oral chemotherapy. There are several reasons why patients may elect to use this treatment option:
- Prevent spread of cancer
- Slow cancer growth
- Kill metastasized cancer cells
- Reduce side effects, such as pain or blockages
- Cure cancer
Oral Chemotherapy Side Effects
Oral chemotherapy drugs are just as strong as other forms of chemotherapy. These types of drugs may cause the following symptoms in some patients:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hair loss and nail changes
- Hand-foot syndrome (pain, swelling or redness on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet)
- Mouth sores
- Skin rash
There are many different forms of oral chemotherapy. Each drug has its own accompanying side effects. Talk with your physician about potential side effects before you begin treatment. Also, it’s important to let your physician know what side effects you experience, as this may shape the course of your treatment. Your physician may have drugs or strategies to help combat oral chemotherapy side effects, as well.
Oral Chemotherapy 101
Before you begin oral chemotherapy, make sure you fully understand how to use the drugs and how the drugs will affect your life. Ask your physician, for example, about:
- When to take the drugs
- How to store the drugs
- How to handle the drugs
- Whether or not the pills can be broken or crushed (unusual)
- How other drugs, vitamins, foods, supplements, herbs, treatments, etc. may interact with the chemotherapy
- What to do if you miss a dose
- How to get in touch in case of an emergency
- How long you will need the drugs
- If your insurance will pay for the drugs; if not, how much they will cost
- What kind of follow-up care you need
Oral Chemotherapy In West Jordan, UT
Patients at Jordan Valley Cancer Center may receive other cancer treatments in addition to oral chemotherapy. By taking an integrative approach to cancer care, we provide patients with an array of experienced cancer specialists who collaborate together with the patient’s best interests in mind. Find out how our team of medical, surgical and radiology oncologists can help you. Contact us at 801-601-2260.