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Cancer Information

What Is Chemotherapy

What Is Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancer.

There are many different types of chemotherapy drugs that can work differently to kill cancer cells. Some may interfere with the growth and division of these cells. Others can help cause cancer cells to self-destruct. Chemotherapy can also prevent necessary blood and nutrients from reaching a tumour. Your doctors will choose chemotherapy that works best against your particular type of cancer.

Depending on the type of cancer and its stage, chemotherapy can be used to:

  • cure the cancer
  • slow the growth of cancer cells
  • keep cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body
  • kill cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body from the original tumour
  • relieve symptoms caused by the cancer

Chemotherapy can be administered by various methods. Depending on the type of cancer you have and the drugs you are receiving, one or more of the following ways can be used:

  • injection into a vein with a syringe or as an infusion (drip)
  • injection into the muscle
  • injection under the skin
  • injection into the spinal cord
  • orally in tablet or capsule form
  • by application onto the skin
  • by placing a catheter into the bladder
  • by placing a catheter into the chest

Please visit the pages below for more information about chemotherapy, side effects or other downloadable resources.