Chemotherapy is the use of medications to treat cancer. Depending on the type of cancer and its stage, the four main goals of chemotherapy are: to cure cancer, to keep cancer from spreading, to slow the growth of cancer, and to relieve cancer symptoms.
Chemotherapy helps destroy cancer cells by stopping them from growing and multiplying. It may be used along with radiation therapy, surgery, or both. More than one chemotherapy drug may be given at a time because some drugs work better together than alone. Your medical oncologist will recommend the medications and dosage schedule appropriate for you. The decision depends on the kind of cancer you have, whether it has spread (metastasized) from its original site, the extent of its growth, and your general health.
How Chemotherapy is Given
Chemotherapy can be given in different ways. Some common methods include:
- Intravenous (IV): A common way to put medicine directly into a vein.
- Oral: Includes pills, capsules or liquid taken by mouth.
- Intramuscular: An injection into the muscle.
- Intrathecal: An injection into the spinal fluid through a spinal tap.
Treatment Length and Frequency
You may be treated in your doctor’s office, in a clinic in the hospital, receive pills to take on a specific schedule at home, or receive drugs at home via an implanted pump. Your dosage schedule may last from a few weeks to a year, with varying cycle frequency (once a week, once a month, or other intervals).
Because you may be visiting often, we wanted to make the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center environment as patient-centered and thoughtfully designed as possible. That's why we included suggestions from those battling cancer in our planning. Read about some of the patient services in our facility.
Health Provider Monitoring
Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment for cancer. The side effects can vary depending on the chemotherapy regimen received. Throughout treatment, cancer survivors are closely monitored by the healthcare team. We have an excellent nursing team that is a great resource for cancer care information.