Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs used in the treatment of cancer may be taken as tablets or, more commonly, given by intravenous drip directly into a vein
Depending on individual factors such as the type of cancer, where it is and the person’s age and general health, chemotherapy may be used:
The major aims of chemotherapy are to:
Chemotherapy can be given to you as an inpatient (involving an overnight stay in hospital) or, more commonly, as an outpatient (day visit).
Your doctor may prescribe one or more drugs depending on the location, type and stage of the cancer. For example, a typical chemotherapy schedule for the treatment of breast cancer includes three different chemotherapy drugs.
The way chemotherapy is given depends on individual factors but may include:
Chemotherapy is usually given intravenously, which means the drug or drugs are delivered into a vein. Different methods of administering intravenous chemotherapy include:
The central line is removed once your chemotherapy treatment is completed.
Each person and treatment is different, so it is not always possible to tell how you will feel. Some people feel well enough to keep their normal schedules at home or at work. Others feel more tired. Today many side effects can be prevented or Controlled.
When will I get chemotherapy?
You may get treatment every day, every week,or every month. The treatment period is followed by a period of rest when you won’t get chemotherapy. This rest period gives your body a chance to build healthy new cells.
Not everyone experiences side effects.Side effects depend on the type of drug or drugs administered, the dose and frequency of treatment and on individual factors. Sideeffects can be mild or may be quite severe.It is important to discuss side effects with your doctor or chemotherapy nurses.
Side effects can be treated and there are also things that you can do to try to prevent or manage side effects. If side effects are severe, it may be necessary to have a break from treatment, to have a reduced dose, to change treatment or to stop all treatment. Common side effects include: