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Why Is It Always Termed "chemotherapy"?

Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:48 am

Why do doctors etc always call cancer drug treatment "chemotherapy" but not other kinds of drug treatment? From what I understand, chemotherapy is technically any use of traditional drugs, I.E. drugs whose active ingredients are chemicals. I may be wrong but I think that would mean that even taking aspirin is undergoing chemotherapy. So why don't people just use plain English and say "cancer drugs"?
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RE: Why Is It Always Termed "chemotherapy"?

Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:53 am

Cos chemotherapy sounds expensive and they can charge a fortune for it.
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RE: Why Is It Always Termed "chemotherapy"?

Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:56 am

Traditionally, chemotherapy drugs are toxic and inhibit cell division, that in the end is theraputic, versus courses of treatment that are wholly theraputic.
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RE: Why Is It Always Termed "chemotherapy"?

Mon Jun 12, 2006 2:50 am

Because the primary alternatives in cancer treatment are surgery and radiation therapy. It's to indicate which of the few possible treatments for the particular affliction are being applied.
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RE: Why Is It Always Termed "chemotherapy"?

Mon Jun 12, 2006 5:24 am

Quoting Duke (Thread starter):
"cancer drugs"

This isn't really a nice term is it? Chemotherapy sounds better.
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RE: Why Is It Always Termed "chemotherapy"?

Mon Jun 12, 2006 5:49 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 3):
Because the primary alternatives in cancer treatment are surgery and radiation therapy


Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 2):
chemotherapy drugs are toxic and inhibit cell division


Sometimes antibiotics are also referred to as chemotherapeutics since they are toxic for cells (i.e. bacteria), too.

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RE: Why Is It Always Termed "chemotherapy"?

Mon Jun 12, 2006 6:29 am

You are right, chemotherapy means treatment with drugs, its not specific to cancer. However, for some reason it has come to mean "cancer treatment", why I don't know, but there's nothing we can do about it. To try would only cause distress. Many years ago my friend's dad went to the dentistwith an infection. They said he would need a course of antimicrobial chemotherapy ie. antibiotics. This is a perfectly correct thing to say, however he just focused on chemotherapy, so by the time he got home he thought he had cancer and was going to die! His wife was a nurse, and a quick call to the dentist sorted it all out, but he did have a bad time over it.
Its just the way language develops. eg many people in the UK , if they are going to use a vacuum cleaner would refer to it as hoovering or using a hoover, regardless of whether the machine has been made by Hoover or not.

Still, getting back to your question, I don't know why chemotherapy is only used in relation to cancer,it just is.

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