Chemotherapy, or chemo for short, most often means taking certain types of medicines to treat cancer. The patient might take these drugs before or after cancer surgery, and they might be combined with radiation treatment, or taken alone.
Cancer is a group of cells that divide quickly and grow out of control. The word cancer is a broad name for many different diseases. Each type of cancer affects your body in different ways. Everyone's cancer is different and so is the chemo that is given. The physician usually decides what chemo is best for the patient’s situation and type of cancer.
Most chemo drugs are given in one of the following ways:
- Pill or liquid
- Injection like a flu shot
- IV – intravenous injection into the veins using a needle or small plastic tube called a catheter
Chemo may be taken once a day, once a week, or even once a month, depending on the type of cancer and the chemo that is given. The length of chemo also depends on the type of cancer, how the patient responds to the drugs, and the physician’s knowledge of best treatment results.