Cost Of Chemotherapy In South Africa

  • Post category:Health Services
  • Post last modified:October 1, 2022
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Cancer is seen as one of the deadliest diseases in the world today. While the cause of the disease is yet to be pinpointed, there is much to be hopeful about in terms of the treatment. According to research and medical practitioners, chemotherapy has been highlighted as an effective way to curb the effect of cancer, or in some cases, fully cure the disease.

Although this comes as good news, getting a full Chemotherapy session can be quite expensive. In this post, we will take a look at how much chemo session costs in South Africa.

Cost of Chemotherapy in South Africa

How Much Does Chemotherapy Cost in South Africa?

The cost of chemotherapy in South Africa depends on some core factors, which include the drug used for and during the treatment and number of sessions during the entire treatment. Also, chemotherapy treatment varies depending on the kind of cancer to be treated.

On the average, cost of full course chemo sessions varies between R$21,600 – R$54,000 depending on the duration, package, and type of cancer being treated. Also, the drugs for chemotherapy cost between R$3,600 and R$9,000, still depending on the kind of cancer being treated.

Chemotherapy for ovarian and breast cancers are usually quite expensive and depending on the level, can be more expensive than other common cancer types. It is usually difficult to estimate how much patients will spend during chemo because the cost might increase and, in some cases, decrease with time, depending on the patient’s response to the treatment.

In addition, the cost of chemo depends upon the type of drugs used for cancer treatment. If the drug prescribed is not expensive, then the cost will be moderately lower. If the drugs used are expensive, then there is a high tendency the cost of the treatment will be much higher too.

What You Should Know About Chemotherapy

Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in the world today. The disease is described as the presence of certain groups of cells that divide rapidly and demonstrate uninhibited growth, invasion and also fast dispersion to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy is seen as a cancer treatment, which to a large extent, stops these cells from multiplying and spreading to other parts.

Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment and management that uses medications to destroy cancerous cells. Chemotherapy works by discontinuing or decelerating the growth of cancerous cells, which grow and spread very quickly.

Apart from the fact that these cancerous cells grow, they also have the potentials of causing significant harm to healthy cells that divide swiftly, such as those cells that line the mouth and bowels or those cells responsible for hair growth. Damage to healthy cells may cause side effects. Often, side effects get better or go away after chemotherapy is over.

Functions of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is one of the most important additions to the medical world today. The process is used for a lot of purposes. Some of these purposes include:

Cancer cure – This, perhaps, is one of the most popular and important uses of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy sometimes helps destroy cancer cells to the point that the medical practitioner can no longer detect affected cells in the body.

Cancer control – Chemo also helps control cancerous cells from spreading to other parts of the body. Cancerous cells grow fast and are known to easily affect other healthy cells around affected areas. Chemo helps reduce this to a reasonable extent and also reduces the rate of growth of affected cells.

Palliation – Chemo also helps ease the symptoms that accompany cancer like pain and pressure. This is usually called palliative care.

Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Chemo affects all cells that develop and split quickly in the body. This includes the cancerous cells and normal cells, like the new blood cells in the bone marrow or the cells in the mouth, abdomen, skin, hair and all reproductive organs. When chemotherapy harms these normal cells, it usually costs some side effects.

The human body varies and hence, the human body does not react to the chemo drugs the same way. The side effects can also be as a result of the type of drug being used for the process. Most of the side effects felt are temporary and can be easily managed. These side effects tend to progressively improve once the treatment is completed and the healthy cells recuperate. Occasionally, the chemo process causes longstanding side effects that do not easily go away. Some of these side effects could include damage to the heart, lungs, nerve endings, kidneys, or reproductive organs.

Hair Loss

Hair loss has been a general issue with patients undergoing chemotherapy. This issue, also known as alopecia, usually depends on the drug being used for the process. Generally, all losing head hair is common among patients undergoing the chemo session. In some cases, you may find the patient’s eyebrows and eyelashes drastically reduce. There could also be hair loss in the pubic region, armpit, and legs.

Hair loss generally starts between 2 to 3 weeks after the chemo treatment starts. This is preceded by the scalp feeling a little hot, tingly or sometimes, itchy. Patients with extra-sensitive hair feel this effect first and is accompanied by pimples on the scalp. After chemotherapy, patients can expect their hair to grow back within 4 – 12 months. First hair growth after chemo might not be the original colour. However, medical practitioners believe the hair will grow back to its original colour and shape with time.

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