Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with drugs that can destroy cancer cells by impeding their growth and reproduction. These drugs often are called "anticancer" drugs. Chemotherapy drugs are given intravenously, by injection or by mouth. Chemotherapy is often used alone, or in conjunction with radiation therapy or surgery.
Fractionated dose chemotherapy differs from conventional cancer chemotherapy treatment in that the total dose of your chemotherapy is broken into smaller amounts and administered over a period of 3-5 days, rather than a single large dose. This helps you by maximizing the dose intensity and exposing cancer cells within your body to the drugs for a longer period of time, while reducing some of the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy.
Other forms of chemotherapy treatment include:
Particularly in the treatment of ovarian cancer, your abdominal cavity (also referred to as the peritoneal area) may be flooded with chemotherapy to prevent the implantation of tumor cells.
The procedure, which sends chemotherapy directly to the liver through the hepatic artery, is commonly used for treatment of tumors in the liver but can be used for a few other organs such as: brain, head, face and neck tumors, the pelvis and the pancreas. Intra-arterial chemotherapy is generally performed in conjunction with systemic intravenous chemotherapy once a month for as long as you and your care team feel it is appropriate.
Used primarily to treat certain types of liver cancer, whether the tumor began in the liver (liver cancer) or spread to it from another organ (metastasized to the liver). Chemoembolization involves injecting chemotherapy directly into the blood vessels that feed the liver tumor. This provides a high concentration of chemotherapy into the tumor and provides what is usually a temporary cut off of the arterial blood supply to the tumor.
Side Effects of Chemotherapy
The side effects of chemotherapy can be unpleasant and include nausea, vomiting, hair loss and mouth sores. New, and usually effective, approaches to prevent or moderate the side effects of chemotherapy will be utilized to help you through your chemotherapy treatment. The fractionated dose approach may diminish the side effects, particularly nausea and vomiting.