Chemotherapy is a treatment given for cancer. Chemotherapy destroys cancers cells by preventing their growth or their reproduction, and can be used alone or in combination with surgery and/or radiation.
Chemotherapy can be given in tablet or capsule form and taken by mouth. Also, chemotherapy can be given in a muscle, blood vessel, or into the abdomen or body cavities. We have prepared a list of frequently asked questions so you may prepare for chemotherapy.
How will my chemotherapy be given?
As mentioned, your chemotherapy will be given by mouth, in a blood vessel or in a body cavity.
If by mouth, do I take my chemotherapy with food or without food?
Taking chemotherapy with food is not always good. It increases the side effects of the chemotherapy. Please make sure you know how to take your chemotherapy, and keep the same schedule daily.
Will my chemotherapy be given in the hospital, or in the Cancer Institute, or both?
Depending on your cancer type, your chemotherapy may be given as an inpatient.
Do I need a prescription for anti-nausea medication?
It is good to always get a prescription for anti-nausea medication before starting your chemotherapy. Different chemotherapy agents cause varying degrees of nausea. It is better to be prepared. There are several different types of anti-nausea medications. You may get a prescription for more than one. They work in different ways, so make sure you know when to take each one.
What other medications do I need before I begin my chemotherapy?
Some chemotherapy requires pre-medication with steroids. These steroids help prevent side effects such as fluid retention and an allergic reaction to the chemotherapy. Make sure you understand how to take these steroids prior to your chemotherapy. In most instances, if you have not taken the pre-medication, your treatment for chemotherapy will have to be rescheduled.
Some medications you should have that are over-the-counter preparations. If your chemotherapy causes diarrhea, you should have Imodium on hand. If it causes constipation, you of course want to have on hand the laxative that works for you. You will especially need laxatives and stool softeners if you are also on pain medications that can cause constipation.
How often will I be getting treatment?
Make sure you get your treatment schedule. This will be very handy in planning your transportation, work schedule, and help around the house when needed.
Please speak with your health care provider if you have any further questions.