Chemotherapy uses medicine to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells. This medicine can be given through a blood vessel (infusion), such as a vein (intravenously or IV) or artery, injected directly into the body or taken by mouth in the form of a pill or liquid. It can be used alone or with other cancer treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy, and biological therapy.
There are many chemotherapy medicines. In many cases, a combination of two or more medicines will be used for treatment. A typical plan and schedule (regimen) usually includes additional medications to fight cancer and to help support completion of the cancer treatment. The regimen given depends on the type of cancer, treatment goals and a person’s response to treatment.
At Cooper Cancer Institute, our physicians offer world class cancer care and have extensive experience with chemotherapy.
Understanding the treatment
There are several ways to get chemotherapy and an oncologist at Cooper Cancer Institute will determine which method is best based on the type of cancer and where it’s located.
In most cases, the medications are given through given through a thin needle that is placed in a blood vessel (vein) in the hand or lower arm (intravenously or IV). The IV is attached to a bag that holds the medicine. The medicine flows from the bag into the vein and into the bloodstream. Once the medicine is in the blood, it can travel throughout the body and attack cancer cells.
In some cases, a soft, thin tube (catheter) or a small, round disc made of plastic or metal (port) is placed under the skin into a larger blood vessel of the chest. This catheter or port acts as a permanent IV so that a person can get chemotherapy and other medicines through it without having to always use a vein in the arm. It will remain under the skin until all the cancer treatment is completed. It can also be used to draw blood and for other treatments, such as blood transfusions, without repeated needle sticks.
Pumps are often attached to catheters or ports. They control how much and how fast chemotherapy goes into a catheter or port. Pumps can remain outside the body (external) or placed under the skin during surgery (internal).
When an IV is not used, chemotherapy can be taken as a pill, capsule, or liquid that is swallowed or injected directly into the body.
Indications for the treatment
Chemotherapy is a common treatment for people with various types of cancer.
Departments Specializing in Chemotherapy
Departments at Cooper where chemotherapy is performed:
Physicians Who Specialize in Chemotherapy
Our chemotherapy specialists include: