How is Chemotherapy Administered?


Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. Cancer cells are often fast-growing, unlike normal cells in the body. Chemotherapy drugs treat many cancers, including leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, central nervous system tumors, and breast cancer.

How is Chemotherapy Given?

Chemotherapy is often given in cycles or treatment periods with rest periods in between. A typical cycle might be three weeks on and one week off chemotherapy drugs. Here we will discuss how is chemotherapy administered.

The way the drugs are given depends on the type of cancer you have and how it responds to treatments. The cancer center Newport Beach treatment options include:

1.Intravenously – Chemotherapy drugs are injected directly into the bloodstream.

2.Orally – Chemotherapy drugs can be taken as a pill or capsule

3.Topically – Chemotherapy applied to the skin as a cream or gel

4.Intrapleurally – Chemotherapy injected into the fluid around the lungs

5. Intrathecally – The chemotherapy drug is injected directly into the spinal fluid

How Often Will I Receive Chemotherapy?

The number of chemotherapy treatments you will receive and how is chemotherapy administered depends on several factors, including your overall health and how well your cancer responds to treatment.

Chemotherapy can be given as an outpatient or inpatient, depending on the patient’s symptoms, the type of cancer, and the kind of chemotherapy in use. Typically, chemotherapy can last hours to several days, and since many patients cannot work during this time, they may need to be admitted to the hospital.

How Will I Feel After Receiving Chemotherapy?

Most patients who receive chemotherapy experience side effects. Some common reactions include:

  • Fatigue
  • Infections
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite or taste changes
  • Hair loss or thinning hair

In conclusion, chemotherapy is an excellent treatment for combating cancer. Side effects vary from patient to patient but can be managed by talking to your oncologist regarding symptom management.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How is chemotherapy administered?

A1: Chemotherapy can be administered in several ways, depending on the specific treatment plan and the type of cancer being treated. The most common methods of administering chemotherapy include:

  1. Intravenous (IV) chemotherapy: This involves injecting chemotherapy drugs directly into a vein. The drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells throughout the body.
  2. Oral chemotherapy: Some chemotherapy drugs are available in the form of pills, capsules, or liquids that can be taken by mouth. These medications are absorbed by the digestive system and then enter the bloodstream to reach the cancer cells.
  3. Injection: Certain chemotherapy drugs are given through injections into the muscle, under the skin, or directly into a tumor.
  4. Intrathecal chemotherapy: This method involves delivering chemotherapy drugs directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, which surrounds the brain and spinal cord. It is used to treat cancers that have spread to the central nervous system.
  5. Intra-arterial chemotherapy: In this approach, chemotherapy drugs are injected directly into the artery that supplies blood to the tumor. It allows for a high concentration of drugs to reach the tumor while minimizing exposure to the rest of the body.

It’s important to note that the specific administration method will depend on various factors, including the type and stage of cancer, the chemotherapy drugs being used, and the individual’s overall health.

Q2: Can chemotherapy be given at home?

A2: In some cases, chemotherapy can be administered at home. However, this typically depends on the specific chemotherapy drugs being used and the treatment plan determined by the oncologist. Some oral chemotherapy drugs can be taken at home, following proper instructions and guidance from the healthcare team. However, intravenous chemotherapy and other specialized methods are usually administered in a hospital, clinic, or infusion center under the supervision of medical professionals.

Q3: How long does a chemotherapy session usually last?

A3: The duration of a chemotherapy session can vary widely depending on the treatment plan and the specific drugs being used. Some sessions may last just a few minutes, while others can take several hours. Intravenous chemotherapy sessions often require the patient to receive the drugs over a specific period, such as a few hours or even several days, depending on the regimen. The healthcare team will provide the necessary information about the expected duration of each chemotherapy session.

Q4: How frequently is chemotherapy given?

A4: The frequency of chemotherapy treatments depends on the type of cancer, the specific chemotherapy drugs being used, and the individual treatment plan. Chemotherapy may be administered daily, weekly, or in cycles that span several weeks. There are also breaks between cycles to allow the body to recover from the effects of the drugs. The healthcare team will determine the appropriate treatment schedule and discuss it with the patient.

Q5: Are there any side effects of chemotherapy?

A5: Chemotherapy can cause side effects, as the drugs not only target cancer cells but can also affect normal, healthy cells. The specific side effects can vary depending on the drugs used and the individual’s response. Common side effects include fatigue, nausea and vomiting, hair loss, changes in appetite, diarrhea or constipation, weakened immune system, and increased susceptibility to infections. However, it’s important to note that not everyone experiences the same side effects, and advancements in supportive care have helped manage and minimize these effects. The healthcare team will monitor the patient closely and provide appropriate interventions to alleviate any side effects experienced.

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