Chemotherapy works by attacking cells in the body that divide rapidly. While this includes the targeted cancerous cells, there are other cells in the human body that divide quite rapidly as well. These cells include bone marrow, digestive tract and hair follicles, which causes hair loss. Chemotherapy patients also regularly suffer from lower red blood cell counts and inflamed digestive tracts from the treatments affect on bone marrow and digestive tract cells respectively.
Cancer cells typically divide quickly, therefore chemotherapy drugs are used to target the rapidly dividing cells. However, there are also other cells in our body that normally divide rapidly such as our hair follicle cells, and the chemotherapy drugs cannot tell the difference between the normal rapidly dividing cells and the cancerous cells.
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