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Chemotherapy Treatment

Traditional or standard chemotherapy is one of the best ways to treat many cancers. Chemotherapy, or chemo, is considered a systemic treatment because the drugs travel throughout the body, killing cancer cells that have spread, or metastasized, to parts of the body far away from the original tumor.

Chemotherapy is usually used to cure or control cancer, but also may be used as part of a palliative plan. If chemo cures cancer, that means it destroys all of the cancer cells present; the cancer cells have gone away. Sometimes chemo can shrink tumors or stop it from spreading but doesn’t destroy all of the cancer cells present. In this way, the cancer is controlled, helping the patient feel better and live longer.

Other times, when the cancer is considered advanced, chemo can be used to help ease symptoms caused by the cancer. In this instance, it is part of palliative care.

What to Expect During Chemotherapy

It is normal to feel worried or overwhelmed when you find out that you need chemotherapy. Please watch our video regarding “What to Expect During Chemotherapy” because every person experiences chemotherapy differently, both physically and emotionally, and chemotherapy drugs vary in their side effects. We offer many types of therapies and medications to help handle side effects that you may experience from chemotherapy. Please let us know how you are feeling throughout your chemotherapy cycle, so that we can address your concerns and help make you more comfortable.


Before Starting Chemotherapy

  • If time permits, have your teeth cleaned before rather than during chemotherapy. If you need major dental work, try to postpone it until after chemotherapy. If you need your teeth cleaned while receiving chemotherapy, please let your doctor or nurse know beforehand.
  • Some medicines may cause problems if taken with your chemotherapy. Tell your doctor what medicines/pills you are taking, including: over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs and other medicines prescribed by any of your doctors.
  • You will receive information about each chemotherapy drug you are given.
  • You may have blood drawn before your treatment.
  • Treatment may make it harder for your body to fight infections. Wash your hands often and avoid people who are sick.
  • You should drink 8 to 10 eight-ounce glasses of non-caffeinated fluid each day throughout your treatment. It is important for you to keep hydrated while you are receiving chemotherapy. However, if you have been told to limit fluids, check with your doctor about how much you can drink.
  • Chemotherapy drugs can cause nausea. You will be given a prescription for medicine to take to help prevent nausea and vomiting. Eating a number of small meals during the day may help reduce nausea.
  • Females should not get pregnant and should use a barrier method of birth control while receiving chemotherapy.
  • Males receiving chemotherapy should use a barrier method of birth control (condom) when having sex.
  • If you are of child bearing age, talk to your doctor before getting chemotherapy if you are planning to have children in the future.

Questions and Concerns

If you have a question or concerns, please call your medical oncologist. Please remember that we are here to make this time less difficult for you and you can call us with any questions or concerns.

Medical Oncology Team


Options to Request an Appointment

If your situation is an emergency, call 911.