Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. It usually works by keeping the cancer cells from growing, dividing, and making more cells. Because cancer cells usually grow and divide faster than normal cells, chemotherapy has more of an effect on cancer cells. However, the drugs used for chemotherapy are powerful, and they can still cause damage to healthy cells. This damage causes the side effect that are linked with chemotherapy.
Different types of chemotherapy
There are different types of chemotherapy .
How does chemotherapy treat cancer?
Doctors use chemotherapy in different ways at different times.
- Before surgery or Radiation therapy to shrink tumors (neoadjuvant chemotherapy).
- After surgery or radiation therapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells ( adjuvant chemotherapy).
- For cancer that comes back after treatment, called recurrent cancer.
- For cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, called metastatic cancer.
How is chemotherapy given?
Intravenous (IV) chemotherapy: In this method drugs require injection directly into a veinTreatment takes a few minutes to a few hours. Some IV drugs work better if you get them over a few days or weeks.
Oral chemotherapy: You can take some drugs by mouth which will be a pill, capsule, or liquid. Oral treatments for cancer are now more common.
Injected chemotherapy: This is when you receive chemotherapy as a shot which may be given in a muscle or injected under the skin.
Chemotherapy into an artery: An artery is a blood vessel that carries blood from your heart to another part of your body. Sometimes chemotherapy is injected into an artery that goes directly to the cancer. This is called intra-arterial or IA chemotherapy.
Topical chemotherapy: You can take some types of chemotherapy in a cream you put on your skin.