Last updated date: 22-May-2023

Originally Written in English

Chemotherapy Treatment

Chemotherapy refers to an aggressive form of treatment that uses drugs to destroy the fast-growing cancerous cells and prevent them from advancing. Doctors usually recommend chemotherapy treatment to treat various types of cancer. However, it can also help with other health conditions, including bone marrow and immune system diseases. 

Although chemotherapy is an effective alternative for treating cancer, it comes with several side effects and risks. Some of these side effects are usually minor and manageable, whereas others can result in severe health problems and complications. 


Types of Chemotherapy 

The common types of chemotherapyare; 

Alkylating agents: Impacts the DNA and destroys the cancerous or any harmful cells at different stages of the cycle.

Antimetabolites: These refer to the mimic proteins that the cells require for survival. When consumed by the cells, they do not cause any benefit, hence making the cells finally starve and die.

Plant alkaloids: These aims at preventing the harmful cells from growing and multiplying rapidly.

Antitumor antibiotics: These helps prevent the harmful cells from reproducing in the body. Antitumor antibiotics vary from the normal antibiotics that people often use to treat an infection.


Importance of Chemotherapy 

The primary aim of chemotherapy treatment is to kill or destroy the cancerous cells in the body. Apart from this, chemotherapy comes with additional benefits, especially for cancer patients. They include; 

Initial treatment for curing cancer: At times, doctors can use chemotherapy as the initial or sole treatment for various types of cancer.

Destroy the remaining or hidden cancerous cells after other treatments. Doctors can sometimes recommend chemotherapy following other treatment options, including surgery. This is to eliminate any harmful cells that remain in the body after the procedure. 

Importance of Chemotherapy

To help prepare patients for other treatments: Doctors can administer chemotherapy before the main treatment. This helps shrink the tumor, making it easier to eliminate via surgery or radiation therapy. This method is referred to as neoadjuvant therapy.

To alleviate chronic signs and symptoms: Doctors can recommend chemotherapy to cancer patients to reduce the severe signs and symptoms by destroying some of the cancerous cells. This method is referred to as palliative chemotherapy.


Common Chemotherapy Side Effects 

There are many different types of chemotherapy drugs that doctors can use to address cancers. Each of these drugs comes with various side effects that can be mild or severe. Before receiving chemotherapy treatment, it’s essential to ask the doctor about the side effect associated with the drug. 

Overall, the common chemotherapy side effects and risks that might arise include; 

  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Loss of hair 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Fatigue 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Fever 
  • Easy bruising 
  • Acute to chronic pain 
  • Constipation 
  • Weight loss
  • Mouth sores and dryness
  • Infections 
  • Insomnia 
  • Memory issues 
  • Neuropathy 
  • Skin and nail changes 

Using medications and adopting certain lifestyle tips can help ease and manage some of these side effects. 

While most of the side effects subside once the chemotherapy treatment is over, there is the risk of long-term impacts. This can occur even after several years of treatment based on the chemotherapy type used. These side effects can sometimes result in severe damages to the kidneys, heart, lungs, reproductive organs, and nerves. 


How to Prepare For Chemotherapy Treatment 

Before receiving chemotherapy treatment, your doctor will give you instructions on how to prepare effectively. This will depend on the type of chemotherapy drugs you will receive and the administration method. 

Overall, the preparation procedures can include the following; 

    • Insertion of the intravenous device

      In case you are receiving chemotherapy intravenously into your vein, the doctor can opt for a device like a catheter, pump, or port. The chosen device is then inserted surgically into the large vein, particularly in the chest cavity. Once in position, the chemotherapy drugs can be administered through the system.

    • Undergoing some procedures and tests to ensure that body is ready and fit to receive chemotherapy treatment. 

The doctor can recommend blood tests to analyze the functions of the liver and kidneys. They can also conduct heart tests to determine overall heart health. This also helps determine if the body is ready and in good condition to undergo chemotherapy treatment. In case the doctor detects any problem, he or she can delay the treatment. Alternatively, they can opt for a different chemotherapy medication and dose that is much safer. 

    • Visiting a dentist 

Sometimes, the doctor can recommend visiting a dentist for a teeth check-up to check for any infection signs. This helps minimize the risks of complications when undergoing chemotherapy treatment. This is mainly because certain chemotherapy drugs can affect the body's immune system, reducing the ability to prevent infections. 

    • Planning for the possible side effects and risks 

Always inquire about the possible side effects that might arise during and after the treatment. This will help you prepare and make prior arrangements concerning the expected outcome and associated risks. For example, if the doctor tells you that the treatment can result in infertility, you can consider other alternatives. It can be extracting and preserving your egg or sperm for future use. On the other hand, if chemotherapy will cause hair loss, you can consider looking for head covering in advance. 

  • Joining therapy sessions or a support group

Cancer is a chronic condition, and the treatment alternative like chemotherapy can also be intimidating. As such, talking to someone who is not a family member and not among your friends' circle is essential. It gives you a good opportunity to express what you are currently going through and make you remain positive. Moreover, it can help you stay calm by eliminating any fears you may be having about the treatment. 


How Chemotherapy Medications Are Administered 

Administering Chemotherapy

There are various ways of administering chemotherapy. They include; 

Infusions: Doctors mostly administer chemotherapy in the form of infusion into the patient’s vein (intravenously). This can be done by putting a tiny tube attached to a small needle into the vein in the arm. Alternatively, it can be through a certain device in the vein within the chest.

Pills: Certain chemotherapy drugs are taken in the form of pills or capsules.

Shots: Doctors can directly inject chemotherapy drugs using a needle in the same way as receiving a shot.

Creams and gels: Doctors can recommend applying gels or creams with chemotherapy drugs directly into the skin. This is to help cure various skin cancers.

Using chemotherapy drugs to treat a single section: Doctors can directly administer chemotherapy drugs into one section of the affected region. For example, they can be administered directly into various parts, including; 

  • The central nervous system; intrathecal chemotherapy 
  • Chest cavity; intrapleural chemotherapy
  • The abdomen; intraperitoneal chemotherapy
  • Urethra towards the bladder; intravesical chemotherapy

Direct administration to the affected area:  After other treatments such as radiation therapy or surgery, chemotherapy may be directly administered to the affected part. For instance, doctors can place thin disk-shaped wafers with chemotherapy drugs around the tumor during the surgical procedure. With time, these wafers will break down and release chemotherapy drugs. Apart from this, chemotherapy drugs can as well be injected directly into the artery or vein running through the tumor.


There are several types of chemotherapy medication. The doctor will help you choose a suitable type based on various factors, including; 

  • The type of cancer or disease and exact stage 
  • Overall health state 
  • Your general objectives and preferences 
  • Initial treatment of the condition

In addition, the doctor will also help you determine how frequently you are going to receive the treatment. This will depend on the type of medication, the nature of the health condition, and how the body reacts and recovers after every dose. Furthermore, the chemotherapy treatment program can vary. While some treatments are administered continuously, others alternate between treatment and resting periods to enable you to recover. 


Results of Chemotherapy Treatment 

The entire chemotherapy treatment can last for weeks to months, depending on the type and stage of the disease. However, during the treatment, you will be required to meet with the doctor or oncologist frequently. This is to monitor the situation and inquire about any side effects you may be experiencing. This is because most of these side effects are treatable and controllable.

Basing on your health state, the doctor can ask you to undergo scanning and other tests. This is to check and monitor cancer while receiving chemotherapy treatment. Furthermore, these tests enable the doctor to determine how the condition is responding to the treatment. It’s also a good way to determine if the treatment should proceed or it requires some adjustments. 



Chemotherapy is a treatment option to treat and manage chronic health conditions such as cancers. It uses strong chemicals to destroy the fast-growing cancer cells in the body and prevent them from advancing. Doctors can administer this type of treatment depending on various factors, including the type of cancer, its stage, and overall health. 

CloudHospital is determined to helping cancer patients by giving an effective chemotherapy treatment. It works with several medical professionals with skills and experience in administering chemotherapy. Furthermore, they conduct various diagnostic tests to help determine the appropriate type of medication to use.