Chemotherapy is a treatment used to kill cancer cells. It involves taking medicines that are toxic to fast-growing cells like cancer cells.
Reasons for Procedure
Chemotherapy is used to treat cancer. The goal is to reduce the number of cancer cells or decrease the size of tumors.
Many types of chemotherapy drugs not only damage the cancer cells but can also damage some of your normal cells. This can create side effects. Side effects will vary between chemotherapy treatments. Your doctor will review a list of possible complications for your treatment type. Some side effects of chemotherapy include:
This depends on the route used, the number of medicines, and the amount of each medicine. A session may be as brief as the time it takes to swallow a pill. It could also take several hours or last overnight. Some types of chemotherapy can be given as a continuous infusion through a portable pump.
Will It Hurt?
The treatment may cause a number of uncomfortable side effects. The delivery of the chemotherapy usually does not hurt.
Average Hospital Stay
Most often, you can leave after the medicine is delivered. Some chemotherapy regimens will require a stay in the hospital. This may be about 2-3 days.
Your doctor may choose to keep you in the hospital if excessive complications arise. For example, if you have severe vomiting, you may need to be admitted to the hospital.
At the Hospital
You may be given any of the following:
Medicines to take at home (eg, anti-nausea)
Injections of an immune-system boosting drug
Other drugs, including steroids, allergy medicines (anti-histamines), anti-nausea medicines, sedatives, and antibiotics
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Get a lot of sleep.
Try to do some physical activity each day. Exercise can help to reduce fatigue.
Try to eat a healthy diet. Appetite changes can be a challenge.
¹10/26/2009 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance
DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
: Adamsen L, Quist M, Andersen C, et al. Effect of a multimodal high intensity exercise intervention in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy: randomised controlled trial.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a