How is Chemotherapy Given?

Updated at: Aug 08, 2012
How is Chemotherapy Given?

How is chemotherapy given: Chemotherapy is given by intravenous administration of certain drugs, but oral tablets and other methods of giving the chemotherapy drugs is also used. The method chosen depends on patient’s condition.

Vatsal Anand
CancerWritten by: Vatsal AnandPublished at: Aug 08, 2012

Use of certain drugs to kill cancer cells is called chemotherapy. Most commonly, chemotherapy treatment is given through intravenous methods, with a drip directly into the patient’s vein. They can also be given orally. The various drugs used in chemotherapy work by either slowing the rate of cancer cells or killing them off completely. If you are wondering about how chemotherapy is given, the explanation given below can help you understand it.

Ways of Giving Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can be given to inpatients, i.e. for patients who stay in hospital overnight but is more commonly given to outpatients, i.e. those who visit during the day. Your doctor prescribes one or more drugs based on the condition of your cancer. The stage, type and location of the cancer is very important for determining this.

One example of administering of chemo drugs is the case of drugs for breast cancer treatment. It includes three different drugs.

Impact of chemotherapy

Chemotherapy should be a process that does not involve any pain. You will have a cool feeling as the fluid is given intravenously as its temperature is less than that of your blood.

How is chemotherapy delivered

The method of delivering chemotherapy depends on many factors which can be:

  • Intravenously administered drugs with an injection.
  • Capsules and oral tablets.
  • The chemotherapy injection can also be given into the skin, spinal fluid, abdominal cavity, chest cavity and an artery.

Chemotherapy that is given intravenously involves two different methods for the same. It can be through a cannula or a central line. A cannula is a thin plastic tube which is 1.5 cm long inserted into your vein, arm or hand. The drugs would be given through the intravenous drip attached to the cannula. This cannula is removed only after the drugs have been completely administered.

Also called Hickman lin,e the central line is a central catheter which is peripherally inserted into a vein close to the heart. It is also called semi-permanent because it can stay in the vein for as long as six months. These central lines can be planted in their place by using the local anaesthetic, if you are in the x-ray department of radiology. If the patient is getting operated in an operation theatre, a general anaesthetic can be useful.

Other than the intravenous administration of chemotherapy drugs, the oral tablets can be as effective for the patients and are often needed because the former cannot be used on the patient. The doctors come to a conclusion about using the methods after careful evaluation and testing of the patient’s condition, general health and medical history.


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