Everything you need to know about chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is used in cancer treatment since 1940 and has reached its greatest achievement in the seventies thanks to the discovery of many new drugs. It is generally used to eliminate cancer cells in all areas of the human body, killing them directly or preventing their multiplication.


There are several manners to treat cancer,which can be used independently or in combination: chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy. The multidisciplinary team of specialists decides which of these treatments will be used, because each cancer requires individual treatment approach.

Chemotherapy affects all tumor cells, even those that cannot be seen in tests. Most types of cancers are sensitive to chemotherapy, sensible on more medicaments which the chemotherapy includes. Sensitivity to chemotherapy is different in different types of tumors and depends on the tumor type and location where it originates. The more sensitive the tumor is to chemotherapy, the greater the efficiency. There are many drugs used for chemotherapy treatment.

When does the chemotherapy treatment begin?

Chemotherapy can begin before the surgical intervention; this is neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. It aims to reduce the tumor size, thus facilitating the surgical treatment, reducing the risk of recurrence of the disease and assessing the effectiveness of the drugs in tumor treatment. Adjuvant chemotherapy, which is used after the surgical treatment, is a choice of treatment in order to reduce the risk of disease recurrence. Palliative chemotherapy is aimed for metastatic disease treatment. The chemotherapy can begin after the results from multiple examinations are obtained. Depending on the results, the doctor determines the type of chemotherapy and the manner of its receipt. The chemotherapy duration is different and is adapted individually for every sick patient and depends on the severity of the disease. 

How is chemotherapy given?

Chemotherapy can be given in several ways:

o    Intravenously, drugs are administered directly into the vein,

o    Orally, drugs are administered through the mouth,

o    Intramuscularly, drugs are injected into the muscle,

o    Very rarely, directly into the tumor or into a cavity in the body that is affected by the tumor.

The manners of receiving chemotherapeutic drugs depends on which type of drugs are used, the administration frequency and the administration duration. The medical team adapts the manner of receiving the chemotherapy for every sick patient in particular. The chemotherapy effectiveness doesn’t dependent on the manner it’s received.

For more information on chemotherapy, please consult with the doctors at the Center for Oncology and Radiotherapy at Acibadem Sistina.


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