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Viva Question and Answers Related to Chemotherapy

1-10: Basics of Chemotherapy

  1. Q: What is chemotherapy?
    • A: Chemotherapy is a medical treatment that uses drugs to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells.
  1. Q: How does chemotherapy differ from other cancer treatments?
    • A: Chemotherapy is systemic, targeting cancer cells throughout the body, whereas surgery and radiation therapy focus on specific areas.
  1. Q: What types of cancers are commonly treated with chemotherapy?
    • A: Chemotherapy is used for various cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma, breast cancer, and lung cancer, among others.
  1. Q: Explain the concept of cell cycle specificity in chemotherapy.
    • A: Some chemotherapy drugs target specific phases of the cell cycle when cells are actively dividing.
  1. Q: Why is combination chemotherapy often preferred over single-drug regimens?
    • A: Combination chemotherapy can enhance effectiveness, reduce resistance, and target cancer cells with different mechanisms of action.
  1. Q: How is the choice of chemotherapy drugs determined for a specific cancer?
    • A: The choice is based on the type and stage of cancer, the patient’s overall health, and the drugs’ mechanism of action.
  1. Q: Can chemotherapy be curative, or is it mainly palliative?
    • A: Chemotherapy can be curative for some cancers, but it is also used palliatively to control symptoms and improve quality of life.
  1. Q: Describe the difference between neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy.
  1. Q: How does chemotherapy affect both cancerous and healthy cells?
    • A: Chemotherapy targets rapidly dividing cells, affecting both cancer cells and some normal cells, leading to side effects.
  1. Q: What is the role of chemotherapy in metastatic cancer?
    • A: Chemotherapy is often used to treat metastatic cancer, aiming to control the spread of the disease and improve symptoms.

11-20: Chemotherapy Administration and Dosage

  1. Q: How is chemotherapy administered?
    • A: Chemotherapy can be administered orally, intravenously, intramuscularly, or through other methods depending on the drugs and cancer type.
  1. Q: Explain the importance of pharmacokinetics in determining chemotherapy dosage.
    • A: Pharmacokinetics studies how the body absorbs, distributes, metabolizes, and eliminates drugs, influencing the appropriate chemotherapy dosage.
  1. Q: What factors influence the choice between intermittent and continuous chemotherapy schedules?
    • A: Factors include the specific cancer type, drugs used, and the desired balance between efficacy and minimizing side effects.
  1. Q: How is chemotherapy dosage adjusted for patients with impaired kidney or liver function?
    • A: Dosage adjustments are made to prevent drug toxicity, considering the patient’s renal and hepatic function.
  1. Q: Can chemotherapy dosage be adjusted during the course of treatment?
    • A: Yes, dosage adjustments may occur based on the patient’s response, side effects, and changes in overall health.
  1. Q: What is the significance of the maximum tolerated dose in chemotherapy?
    • A: The maximum tolerated dose is the highest dose that can be given without causing unacceptable side effects, helping determine safe and effective treatment levels.
  1. Q: Explain the term “chemotherapy cycle.”
    • A: A chemotherapy cycle consists of the administration of drugs followed by a period of rest, allowing the body to recover before the next cycle.
  1. Q: How is the duration of chemotherapy treatment determined?
    • A: The duration depends on the type and stage of cancer, treatment goals, and the patient’s response to therapy.
  1. Q: Describe the rationale behind dose-dense chemotherapy.
  1. Q: What are the challenges in ensuring adherence to a chemotherapy regimen?
    • A: Challenges include managing side effects, patient education, and addressing psychosocial factors affecting adherence.

21-30: Side Effects and Supportive Care

  1. Q: What are the common side effects of chemotherapy?
    • A: Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, hair loss, anemia, and increased susceptibility to infections.
  1. Q: How can chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting be effectively managed?
    • A: Antiemetic medications, lifestyle modifications, and behavioral interventions are used to manage nausea and vomiting.
  1. Q: What is the role of growth factors in managing chemotherapy-induced neutropenia?
    • A: Growth factors stimulate the production of white blood cells, reducing the risk of infections associated with low neutrophil counts.
  1. Q: How does chemotherapy affect blood cell counts, and why is monitoring crucial?
    • A: Chemotherapy can lead to low blood cell counts, increasing the risk of infection, anemia, and bleeding. Regular monitoring allows prompt intervention.
  1. Q: Explain the concept of myelosuppression in chemotherapy.
  1. Q: What strategies are employed to manage chemotherapy-induced fatigue?
    • A: Strategies include physical activity, proper nutrition, sleep management, and addressing psychological factors contributing to fatigue.
  1. Q: Describe the impact of chemotherapy on fertility, and how is it managed?
    • A: Chemotherapy can affect fertility, and options like sperm or egg banking may be considered before treatment. Fertility preservation methods are evolving.
  1. Q: How can chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy be managed?
    • A: Management involves dose adjustments, medications, and lifestyle modifications to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.
  1. Q: What is tumor lysis syndrome, and how is it prevented during chemotherapy?
    • A: Tumor lysis syndrome is a life-threatening complication. Prevention involves hydration, uric acid-lowering medications, and close monitoring.
  1. Q: What role does psychosocial support play in managing the emotional impact of chemotherapy?

31-40: Specific Chemotherapy Drugs and Classes

  1. Q: Provide examples of alkylating agents used in chemotherapy.
    • A: Examples include cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, and carmustine.
  1. Q: How do antimetabolites work, and can you name some examples?
    • A: Antimetabolites interfere with DNA synthesis. Examples include methotrexate, 5-fluorouracil, and cytarabine.
  1. Q: What are anthracyclines, and what is their mechanism of action?
    • A: Anthracyclines, such as doxorubicin, inhibit DNA and RNA synthesis, leading to cell death.
  1. Q: Describe the role of topoisomerase inhibitors in chemotherapy.
    • A: Topoisomerase inhibitors interfere with enzymes that control DNA structure. Examples include etoposide and irinotecan.
  1. Q: How do taxanes function in chemotherapy, and provide examples.
    • A: Taxanes, like paclitaxel, inhibit microtubule function, disrupting cell division.
  1. Q: What distinguishes targeted therapies from traditional chemotherapy?
  1. Q: How does hormone therapy differ from traditional chemotherapy, and in which cancers is it commonly used?
    • A: Hormone therapy targets hormone receptors in certain cancers like breast and prostate cancer, unlike traditional chemotherapy.
  1. Q: Explain the concept of immunotherapy in cancer treatment.
    • A: Immunotherapy stimulates the body’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. Checkpoint inhibitors and CAR-T cell therapy are examples.
  1. Q: Describe the role of angiogenesis inhibitors in cancer treatment.
    • A: Angiogenesis inhibitors block the formation of new blood vessels, limiting the blood supply to tumors. Bevacizumab is an example.
  1. Q: How does resistance to chemotherapy develop, and what strategies are used to overcome it?
    • A: Resistance can develop through genetic mutations or over time. Combination therapies, dose adjustments, and targeted approaches may help overcome resistance.

41-50: Monitoring and Assessment of Chemotherapy

  1. Q: How is the effectiveness of chemotherapy assessed?
  1. Q: What are tumor markers, and how are they used in monitoring chemotherapy?
    • A: Tumor markers are substances produced by cancer cells. Changes in their levels can indicate response to treatment or disease progression.
  1. Q: Explain the importance of imaging studies in monitoring chemotherapy.
    • A: Imaging studies, such as CT scans and MRIs, help visualize changes in tumor size and assess the response to treatment.
  1. Q: What is the significance of complete blood counts (CBC) in chemotherapy monitoring?
    • A: CBC monitors blood cell counts, helping identify and manage chemotherapy-induced hematologic toxicities.
  1. Q: Describe the concept of minimal residual disease in chemotherapy.
    • A: Minimal residual disease refers to the presence of a small number of cancer cells after treatment, requiring sensitive techniques for detection.
  1. Q: How does the concept of quality of life apply to chemotherapy patients?
    • A: Quality of life involves assessing and addressing the physical, emotional, and social well-being of patients during and after chemotherapy.
  1. Q: What role does the multidisciplinary healthcare team play in chemotherapy care?
    • A: The team, including oncologists, nurses, pharmacists, and supportive care professionals, collaborates to provide comprehensive care and address various aspects of treatment.
  1. Q: How is chemotherapy-related toxicity graded, and why is it important?
    • A: Toxicity is graded using common criteria (e.g., CTCAE). It helps communicate and manage side effects consistently.
  1. Q: Explain the concept of chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment (chemobrain).
    • A: Chemobrain refers to cognitive changes experienced by some patients during or after chemotherapy. Research is ongoing to understand and manage this phenomenon.
  1. Q: What advancements are being made in the field of chemotherapy research and development?

These questions cover a wide range of topics related to chemotherapy, providing a comprehensive overview suitable for a viva examination.


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