What is Chemotherapy?

​Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer using drugs that kill rapidly growing cells. Read the Cancer Society booklet about Chemotherapy for more information.

How does chemotherapy work?

Chemotherapy works be entering the blood stream which means the drugs can reach most places in your body attack and kill cancer cells as they divide to form new cells.

How is chemotherapy given? 

Chemotherapy is usually given on a regular basis as an outpatient although sometimes you may need to be admitted to the hospital as an inpatient. Depending on the chemotherapy treatment regimen required, treatment frequency may be weekly to four weekly. Most treatment may range from 4 to 6 months in duration.

Chemotherapy is usually given by injection or infusion but sometimes is given as tablets or capsules.

Sometimes chemotherapy and radiation therapy are given at the same time to make the treatment more effective.​​

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Page last reviewed: 09 January 2018