How chemotherapy is given

There are various schedules and techniques used to deliver chemotherapy and yours will depend on which 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 treatment with one or more drugs followed by a period of rest. The cycle consists of the day(s) the drug is administered followed by a rest and recovery period. A cycle usually lasts one to four weeks and is then repeated, which means a treatment is administered every one to four weeks. Each course of chemotherapy is different, but generally 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, into a vein (intravenous), injected into a body cavity (such as the bladder), into a muscle (intramuscular), or into the spinal fluid (intrathecal). Currently, most chemotherapy is administered intravenously; however, oral chemotherapy drugs are gaining wider use. In some cases, it may be beneficial to administer IV chemotherapy through a venous access device (VAD), which is inserted into a major vein in the body and can remain in place for a long 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 is beneficial by reducing 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 understanding of your treatment, we hope to help alleviate some of your concerns. Please share with us any questions or concerns, as we are here to provide support in your journey to recovery.