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The use of drugs to kill cancer cells.
This depends on how the chemotherapy is given.
To treat cancer.
- History of allergies
You may be asked to take some pre-medications, such as steroids, allergy medications (anti-histamines), anti-nausea medications, sedatives, and antibiotics.
You'll be given the chemotherapy medication(s) by whichever route your physician thinks best. At the same time, you may be given other medications to fight the side effects of chemotherapy, including steroids, allergy medications (anti-histamines), anti-nausea medications, sedatives, and antibiotics.
Chemotherapy Through Cardiovascular System
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Anesthesia is not used.
Chemotherapy drugs may be given in several ways:
- By mouth
- By injection into a muscle or vein (intravenously)
- By catheter into the bladder, abdomen, chest cavity, brain, spinal cord, or liver
- By application to the skin
You may be given any of the following:
Medications to take at home to make you more comfortable, such as anti-nausea drugsInjections of an immune-system boosting drug (to increase your white blood cells and fight potential infections) several days after your chemotherapy has been administeredOther drugs, including steroids, allergy medications (anti-histamines), anti-nausea medications, sedatives, and antibiotics How Long Will It Take?This depends on the route used, the number of medications prescribed, and the amount of each medication. Therefore, a session may be as brief as the time it takes to swallow a pill, or it may take several hours, overnight, or even an entire week for intravenous medications to be dripped slowly into your veins. Will It Hurt?Chemotherapy may cause a number of uncomfortable side effects and complications. However, the administration of the chemotherapy treatment does not usually hurt, unless the intravenous needle is misplaced and medication leaks into your tissue. If this happens, tell your doctor or nurse, so that the problem can be corrected and damage to your skin and tissue can be avoided. Possible ComplicationsNausea and/or vomitingDiarrhea or constipationAppetite lossHair lossAnemiaWeakened immune system and increased susceptibility to infectionIntense fatigueDecreased platelet count and easy bruising and/or bleedingMouth soresNumbness, tingling, or weakness due to nerve damageKidney damageDamage to the heart muscleInfertilityCessation of the menstrual period Average Hospital StayChemotherapy is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. However, if you experience excessive vomiting, you may need to be admitted to the hospital to receive IV fluids with your chemotherapy treatments.
Postoperative CareGet a lot of sleep.Try to eat as healthfully as possible, even though you may not have an appetite.Drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration and to flush the medications out of your kidneys as quickly as possible.Use special mouth rinses to avoid or treat mouth sores.Administer post-chemotherapy shots if they are prescribed by your doctor; these will help to keep your white blood count stable.Try to avoid people with communicable diseases (particularly children) as a viral illness (ie, cold or flu) can have significant effects in a patient whose immune system is compromised by the chemotherapy, OutcomeChemotherapy should help decrease the number of cancer cells and shrink tumors. Your doctor may order any of the following tests to monitor the progress of your treatment: Blood testsUrine testsX-raysUltrasound a test that uses sound waves to find tumors MRI scan a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of the inside of the body CT scan a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the inside of the body Bone scans a type of x-ray that shows areas of unusual activity Bone marrow biopsies the removal of a sample of bone marrow for examination Call Your Doctor If Any of the Following OccursSores in your mouth or lip blistersWhite patches in your mouthDifficulty/pain with swallowingDiarrhea or constipationVomiting that prevents you from holding down fluidsBlood in your vomitEasy bruisingNosebleeds, bleeding gums, new vaginal bleedingBlood in your urine or stoolBurning or frequency of urinationChest painSevere weaknessShortness of breath, coughCalf pain, swelling, or redness in the legs or feet (which could signify a blood clot)Abnormal vaginal discharge, itching, or odorSigns of infection, including fever and chillsPain in a new locationNumbness, tingling, or pain in your extremitiesRedness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or a "pimple" at the site of your IVHeadache, stiff neckHearing or vision changesExposure to someone with an infectious illness, including chickenpoxFEVER: The single most important symptom that causes a medical oncologist to admit a patient to the hospital after getting chemotherapy is a fever in the presence of a low white blood cell count, called a neutropenic fever. RESOURCES:
American Cancer Societyhttp://www.cancer.org National Cancer Institutehttp://www.cancer.gov Nemours Foundationhttp://www.nemours.org CANADIAN RESOURCES: Cancer Care Ontariohttp://www.cancercare.on.ca/ Canadian Cancer Societyhttp://www.cancer.ca References: Clinical Oncology . 2nd ed. Churchill Livingstone; 2000. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/ . National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.nih.gov/ . Last reviewed March 2008 by Igor Puzanov, MDPlease be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.