Introduction to Chemotherapy

What is Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy (chemo) is the treatment of cancer with drugs that can destroy cancer cells. These drugs often are called "anticancer" drugs. Most people don't know that cancer chemotherapy includes a variety of drugs that are given in a variety of ways such as:
  • Drugs that are given into the bloodstream through an IV (called 'intravenous' chemotherapy). These drugs can be given over minutes or hours called an infusion.
  • Drugs are also given slowly and continuously over several days using a pump. This is called a continuous infusion.
  • Drugs that are taken by mouth as pills or liquids (called oral chemotherapy)
  • Drugs that are placed directly into a body area (called intracavitary chemotherapy)
  • Drugs that are placed on the skin as creams

8 Must Know Facts

These are the facts that are most important for your infusion preparation.

1. Plan to spend most of the day in the center for your first visit.

2. You must have a driver for your first chemotherapy visit.

3. Only one adult visitor is allowed with you in the infusion area.

4. No one less than 12 years of age is allowed in the area.

5. Eat lightly -- Do not skip meals prior to your infusion.

6. See a dentist before you begin chemotherapy.

7. Try a stress reducing activity before chemotherapy, plan to continue this activity throughout your cancer treatment.

8. Be safe -- wear sensible shoes and loose, comfortable clothing.

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