Chemotherapy is most often given
through an IV. It may also be taken by mouth as a pill, or as an injection. The
treatment may be done as an outpatient visit to a hospital. This means you go home the
same day. Or it may be at your healthcare provider's office, a chemotherapy clinic, or
at home. In some cases, you may stay in the hospital during treatment.
You get chemotherapy in cycles over
a period of time. That means you may take the medicine for a set amount of time and then
you have a rest period. Each period of treatment and rest is 1 cycle. You may have
several cycles. Having treatment in cycles helps by:
Killing more cancer cells. Chemotherapy kills cells that are dividing quickly, like cancer cells. Cancer cells aren't all dividing at the same time. So giving treatments in cycles allows the medicine to fight more cells.
Giving your body a rest. Treatment is hard on other cells of the body that divide quickly. This includes cells in the lining of the mouth and stomach. This causes side effects, such as sores and nausea. Between cycles, your body can get a rest from the chemotherapy.
Giving your mind a rest. Having chemotherapy can be stressful. Taking breaks between cycles can let you get an emotional break between treatments.
You generally receive chemotherapy
every 3 to 4 weeks. But some medicines are given in different intervals. Your healthcare
provider will review the schedule with you based on the medicines used in your
You may also receive radiation therapy at the same time as chemotherapy. This is because low-dose chemotherapy may help radiation therapy work better. In this case, you may get the chemotherapy weekly.