Larynx Cancer (cont.)
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Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs that treat laryngeal cancer are usually given through a vein (intravenous). The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel throughout your body.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are often given at the same time. You may receive chemotherapy in an outpatient part of the hospital, at the doctor's office, or at home. Some people need to stay in the hospital during treatment.
The side effects depend mainly on which drugs are given and how much. Chemotherapy kills fast-growing cancer cells, but the drugs can also harm normal cells that divide rapidly:
Also, chemotherapy can cause painful mouth and gums, dry mouth, infection, and changes in taste. Some drugs used for laryngeal cancer can cause tingling or numbness in the hands or feet. You may have these problems only during treatment or for a short time after treatment ends.
Some people with laryngeal cancer receive a type of treatment known as targeted therapy. It may be given along with radiation therapy.
Cetuximab (Erbitux) was the first targeted therapy approved for laryngeal cancer. Cetuximab binds to cancer cells and interferes with cancer cell growth and the spread of cancer. You may receive cetuximab through a vein once a week for several weeks at the doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
During treatment, your health care team will watch for signs of problems. Some people get medicine to prevent a possible allergic reaction. Side effects may include rash, fever, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea. These effects usually become milder after the first treatment.
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