URL of this page: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/cancerchemotherapy.html

Cancer Chemotherapy


Normally, your cells grow and die in a controlled way. Cancer cells keep forming without control. Chemotherapy is drug therapy that can kill these cells or stop them from multiplying. However, it can also harm healthy cells, which causes side effects.

During chemotherapy you may have no side effects or just a few. The kinds of side effects you have depend on the type and dose of chemotherapy you get. Side effects vary, but common ones are nausea, vomiting, tiredness, pain and hair loss. Healthy cells usually recover after chemotherapy, so most side effects gradually go away.

Your course of therapy will depend on the cancer type, the chemotherapy drugs used, the treatment goal and how your body responds. You may get treatment every day, every week or every month. You may have breaks between treatments so that your body has a chance to build new healthy cells. You might take the drugs by mouth, in a shot or intravenously.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

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