Monday, January 2, 2012

ICE chemotherapy

ICE chemotherapy is used to treat Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In this type of treatment, three types of chemotherapy drugs are used. I came to know about Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, when my friend was diagnosed with it.

Peter (my friend) was prescribed with three types of drugs namely:


The method of giving these drugs was quite simple; he was admitted in the hospital for a short period. Before the treatment began his doctor took a sample of his blood to check if the count of red blood cells and white blood cells in his blood are normal or not. If the count of the red and the white blood cells are not normal the doctors first give medicines to make the count normal before administrating the drug. After diagnosing the blood sample the pharmacist prepares the chemotherapy drug. It takes few hours to prepare this drug.

The drug is given in the form of a liquid through a thin plastic tube that was inserted in the vein near his collar bone. This drug can also be given intravenously or through the collar bone. It does pain for a while and one feels uncomfortable after the needle is inserted but after some time the discomfort goes away. The patient may feel sick after the drug is given, so the doctor gives him some anti sickness tablets to overcome it.

Side effects of the treatment

Like other cancer chemotherapy, there are some side effects in the ICE chemotherapy as well. Some side effects may be minor while some side effects can be major. Peter was lucky to have some minor side effects like:

Feeling sick (nausea/vomiting)

After the ICE chemotherapy is given the patient feels sick but there is nothing to worry as there are anti sickness drugs that can be given to the patient. If the patient still feels sick, he must tell the doctor so that he can give more effective drugs. The possible side effect of anti sickness drug is constipation. If this happens the patient must inform the doctor immediately.

Lowered resistance to infection

The ICE drug also causes a possibility of infection. This is because it effects the production of white blood cells in the bone marrow, which protects us from infection and various other diseases. Usually after the first dose of chemotherapy is given, the doctor checks the patient’s blood for the drop in the cell count. If he finds the count to be extremely low, then he may delay the 2nd dose.

Hair loss

This is a common side effect of cancer chemotherapy. After two doses of ICE Peter went through a considerable hair loss but thankfully it stopped after the treatment was over.

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