Understanding the Benefits of Oral Chemotherapy

Having cancer patients adhere to oral chemotherapy is essential for positive treatment outcomes. Oral chemotherapy is a less invasive and convenient treatment option that requires patients to be educated, monitored and supported. This option solely depends on the collaboration between health care providers, pharmacists and physicians who are involved in the patient’s care.

Here are the benefits of oral chemotherapy:

  • It offers flexibility and convenience of time and place of administration. It is less invasive, and patients can take their doses at home without the need to go to a cancer treatment center. This offers less interference in the daily activities of the patient. 
  • Oral chemotherapy allows patients control over their cancer treatment.
  • It allows for flexibility of drug exposure. Oral chemotherapy provides a more prolonged therapy compared to IV drug administration.
  • Oral chemotherapy also reduces the need to use health care resources for ambulatory patient care and inpatient services.
  • Oral chemotherapy enhances the quality of life of the patient as compared to parenteral chemotherapy.

Oral chemotherapy also has its downsides such as:

  • As a systematic therapy, oral chemotherapy also harms the healthy body cells and may cause side effects. The side effects vary according to the individual. They include nausea/vomiting, fatigue, diarrhoea, skin rash, hair loss, low blood count and mouth sores. The side effects will disappear immediately after the treatment is discontinued.
  • In case a patient doesn’t adhere to instructions, they may miss doses due to confusion and undermine the treatment’s effectiveness. This can lead to missed doses or doubled doses which can bring about severe side effects.
  • If a patient takes over-the-counter drugs alongside oral chemotherapy drugs, it may result in sided effects. It is essential that patients receive counselling to ensure treatment success.

While on treatment, patients need to know that oral chemotherapy comes with special instructions. These include special storage requirements, a strict timetable to follow when administering the medications, and patient counselling to help patients properly understand why they need to take their drugs correctly, and the consequences if they don’t adhere to the instructions.

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