Chemotherapy (also called chemo) is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. It works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells, which grow and divide quickly.
How can chemotherapy help me?
Chemotherapy can be used to:
Destroy cancer cells
Stop cancer cells from spreading
Slow the growth of cancer cells
Chemotherapy can be given alone or with other treatments. It can help other treatments work better. For example, you may get chemotherapy before or after surgery or radiation therapy. Or you may get chemotherapy before a peripheral blood stem cell transplant.
How is chemotherapy given?
Chemotherapy can be given in these forms:
An IV (intravenously)
A shot (injection) into a muscle or other part of your body
A pill or a liquid that you swallow
A cream that is rubbed on your skin
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. Your doctor or nurse will talk with you about your treatment schedule. Ask for a written copy of it, as well.
How will I feel during treatment?
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. Talk with your doctor or nurse to learn what side effects you may have and how to manage them.