- Cancer 101: Cancer Explained
- Guide to Breast Cancer
- Skin Cancer Risks
- Patient Comments: Chemotherapy - Coping With Side Effects
- Patient Comments: Chemotherapy - Experiences
- Patient Comments: Cancer - Patient Experience
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
- Chemotherapy facts*
- 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
Quick GuideCancer 101 Pictures Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Understanding Cancer
How does my doctor decide which chemotherapy drugs to use?
This choice depends on:
- The type of cancer you have. Some types of chemotherapy drugs are used for many types of cancer. Other drugs are used for just one or two types of cancer.
- Whether you have had chemotherapy before
- Whether you have other health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, or problems with the liver or kidneys.
Where do I go for chemotherapy?
You may receive chemotherapy during a hospital stay, at home, or in a doctor's office, clinic, or outpatient unit in a hospital (which means you do not have to stay overnight). No matter where you go for chemotherapy, your doctor and nurse will watch for side effects and make any needed drug changes.
How often will I receive chemotherapy?
Treatment schedules for chemotherapy vary widely. How often and how long you get chemotherapy depends on:
- Your type of cancer and how advanced it is
- The goals of treatment (whether chemotherapy is used to cure your cancer, control its growth, or ease the symptoms)
- The type of chemotherapy
- How your body reacts to chemotherapy
You may receive chemotherapy in cycles. A cycle is a period of chemotherapy treatment followed by a period of rest. For instance, you might receive 1 week of chemotherapy followed by 3 weeks of rest. These 4 weeks make up one cycle. The rest period gives your body a chance to build new healthy cells.
Can I miss a dose of chemotherapy?
It is not good to skip a chemotherapy treatment. Sometimes your doctor or nurse may change your chemotherapy schedule. This can be due to side effects you are having. If this happens, your doctor or nurse will explain what to do and when to start treatment again.