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If you have cancer, the cancer cells inside your body are quickly dividing and multiplying at rapid speed. The overall goal of chemotherapy is to stop or slow down those cancerous cells.
A common form of chemotherapy:
- Systemic chemotherapy affects your entire body. Oncologists use it to target cancer cells that may have spread throughout your body.
The goal of chemotherapy depends on the type of cancer and its stage. In addition, chemotherapy may cure some cancers, especially in early stages.
What you can expect
You will receive chemotherapy treatment from our compassionate and skilled nurses, who will be right there with you at each appointment. Throughout treatment, your primary care nurse will continue to work closely with you and your family.
Nearly all chemotherapy is given as an outpatient treatment, meaning you don’t have to stay overnight at one of our hospitals. Chemotherapy is typically given through an IV. However, some drugs are given in a pill form, so you can take them home with you.
Chemotherapy is often given in cycles. That means you’ll have several treatment sessions and then, a period of rest. This gives your body the chance to build new healthy cells to replace those damaged by chemotherapy. The number of treatments in each cycle varies, as well as the number of cycles you’ll receive.
Chemotherapy side effects
You might’ve already done some research on chemotherapy side effects. The reason why side effects are likely is because of how chemotherapy works. As chemotherapy stops or slows down cancer cells from multiplying, it might also affect healthy cells, too.
Your cancer team will help you manage any side effects. The good news is that most side effects go away when you're finished with treatment. Here are some common chemotherapy side effects:
- Sore mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hair loss
- Risk for infection