How chemotherapy is given

There are various schedules and techniques used to deliver chemotherapy — yours will depend on which cancer treatment your doctor prescribes. Cancer chemotherapy may consist of a single drug or a combination of drugs that are delivered in cycles. A cycle consists of cancer treatment with one or more drugs followed by a period of rest. Usually, a cycle lasts one to four weeks and is then repeated. This means a treatment is administered every one to four weeks. Each course of chemotherapy is different, but generally, a course consists of four to six cycles. The actual administration of some chemotherapy drugs may take only seconds or minutes, while others may take hours or even days. Chemotherapy can be administered orally in the form of a pill, intravenous (into a vein), injected into a body cavity (such as the bladder), intramuscular (into a muscle), or intrathecal (into the spinal fluid). Currently, most chemotherapy is administered intravenously, however, oral chemotherapy drugs are becoming more widely used. In some cases, it may be beneficial to administer intravenous chemotherapy through a Venous Access Device (VAD) inserted into a major vein in the body. This can remain in place for a longer period of time. Not every chemotherapy patient requires a VAD. However, for those that are undergoing frequent treatment, blood tests, and nutritional support, a VAD has been shown to be beneficial because it reduces the number of needle sticks and associated discomfort.

Additional information about chemotherapy is a website designed to provide the latest information about chemotherapy for patients, family, and friends. You will find detailed information about chemotherapy drugs, potential side effects, tips for managing side effects, and other additional supportive resources. Other informative websites we recommend include:

We understand that you may be feeling frightened and overwhelmed. Through education and a better understanding of your treatment, we hope to help alleviate some of your concerns. Please share any questions or concerns with us! We are here to provide support in your journey to recovery.