- What is chemotherapy?
- How does chemotherapy work?
- What does chemotherapy do?
- How is chemotherapy used?
- How does my doctor decide which chemotherapy drugs to use?
- Where do I go for chemotherapy?
- How often will I receive chemotherapy?
- Can I miss a dose of chemotherapy?
- How is chemotherapy given?
- How will I feel during chemotherapy?
- Can I work during chemotherapy?
- Can I take over-the-counter and prescription drugs while I get chemotherapy?
- How will I know if my chemotherapy is working?
- How much does chemotherapy cost?
- What are clinical trials and are they an option for me?
- Tips for Meeting With Your Doctor or Nurse
- Your Feelings During Chemotherapy
- Chemotherapy Side Effects
- Patient Comments: Chemotherapy - Experiences
- Patient Comments: Chemotherapy - Coping With Side Effects
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
What is chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy (also called chemo) is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells.
How does chemotherapy work?
Chemotherapy works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells, which grow and divide quickly. But it can also harm healthy cells that divide quickly, such as those that line your mouth and intestines or cause your hair to grow. Damage to healthy cells may cause side effects. Often, side effects get better or go away after chemotherapy is over.
What does chemotherapy do?
Depending on your type of cancer and how advanced it is, chemotherapy can:
- Cure cancer - when chemotherapy destroys cancer cells to the point that your doctor can no longer detect them in your body and they will not grow back.
- Control cancer - when chemotherapy keeps cancer from spreading, slows its growth, or destroys cancer cells that have spread to other parts of your body.
- Ease cancer symptoms (also called palliative care) - when chemotherapy shrinks tumors that are causing pain or pressure.
How is chemotherapy used?
- Make a tumor smaller before surgery or radiation therapy. This is called neo-adjuvant chemotherapy.
- Destroy cancer cells that may remain after surgery or radiation therapy. This is called adjuvant chemotherapy.
- Help radiation therapy and biological therapy work better.
- Destroy cancer cells that have come back (recurrent cancer) or spread to other parts of your body (metastatic cancer).
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