Chemotherapy Procedures

Depending on which drugs patient may receive and how they'll be administered.

The doctor chooses which chemotherapy drugs patient will receive based on several factors:

  • Type of cancer
  • Stage of cancer
  • Overall health
  • Previous cancer treatments
  • patient goals and preferences

Chemotherapy drugs can be given in different ways, including:

  • Chemotherapy infusions. Chemotherapy is most often given as an infusion into a vein (intravenously). The drugs can be given by inserting a tube with a needle into a vein in the arm or into a device in a vein in the chest.
  • Chemotherapy pills. Some chemotherapy drugs can be taken in pill or capsule form
  • Chemotherapy shots. Chemotherapy drugs can be injected with a needle, Chemotherapy creams. Creams or gels containing chemotherapy drugs can be applied to the skin to treat certain types of skin cancer.
  • Chemotherapy drugs used to treat one area of the body. Chemotherapy drugs can be given directly to one area of the body. For instance, chemotherapy drugs can be given directly in the abdomen (intraperitoneal chemotherapy), chest cavity (intrapleural chemotherapy) or central nervous system (intrathecal chemotherapy). Chemotherapy can also be given through the urethra into the bladder (intravesical chemotherapy).
  • Chemotherapy given directly to the cancer. Chemotherapy can be given directly to the cancer or, after surgery, where the cancer once was. As an example, thin disk-shaped wafers containing chemotherapy drugs can be placed near a tumor during surgery. The wafers break down over time, releasing chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy drugs may also be injected into a vein or artery that directly feeds a tumor.

The doctor determines how often patient will receive chemotherapy treatments based on the drugs, the characteristics of the cancer and how well the patient body recovers after each treatment. Chemotherapy treatment schedules vary. Chemotherapy treatment can be continuous, or it may alternate between periods of treatment and periods of rest to let the patient recover.

Chemotherapy treatments can be given:

  • In an outpatient chemotherapy unit
  • In the hospital
  • At home, such as when taking chemotherapy pills

Patient is regularly monitored by the doctor for any side effects being experienced since many can be controlled.

Patient may undergo scans and other tests to monitor the cancer during chemotherapy treatment. These tests can give the doctor an idea of how your cancer is responding to treatment, and the treatment may be adjusted accordingly.

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