Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with cytotoxic drugs. Chemotherapy is a systemic therapy; it usually treats the whole body, as opposed to radiotherapy or surgery that provides focused treatment to a specific area of the body.
Chemotherapy works by preventing cells from completing the duplication process, known as mitosis. If the cancer cells cannot multiply, they cannot spread into adjacent organs or migrate to develop into metastatic tumors. Chemotherapy is given on a schedule over a prescribed period of time that will maximize cell kill and allow normal cells to recover.
Chemotherapy is usually administered through an intravenous (IV) access. There are several other ways to administer chemotherapy:
Chemotherapy drugs are selected specific to each cancer cell type. Combination chemotherapy can increase the effectiveness of single agent drugs in the treatment of some cancers. Different drugs are often used in combinations given on the same or different days of a chemotherapy cycle.
Chemotherapy is usually administered by specially trained Registered Nurses in an outpatient setting, such as an infusion center, a physician’s office or even in the home. Some chemotherapy regimens require inpatient hospital stays for several days of infusion. The side effects of chemotherapy drugs can include hair loss (alopecia), nausea, fatigue, constipation and dramatic changes in blood cell counts such as anemia, leukopenia (low white cell count) and thrombocytopenia (low platelet count). Some drugs can cause toxicities in the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs and affect nerve function. Some treatments result in reproductive dysfunction and temporary metabolic alterations.
The goals of cancer treatment include longer survival, higher cure rates and better disease control, which can offer longer intervals between recurrences. The benefits of chemotherapy are likely to increase as newer drugs are developed and more advanced combinations of treatments are researched.
MemorialCare Breast Centers are among the most comprehensive breast cancer centers in Long Beach and Orange County, California. Our caring and compassionate physicians and staff are solely dedicated to the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. MemorialCare Breast Centers are on the leading edge of brea
MemorialCare is proud to provide the highest quality, comprehensive cancer care for adults and children of all ages. Our cancer centers are devoted to improving the lives of residents in Los Angeles County and Orange County, California and beyond.
This setting allows you to view available services and providers associated with your preferred location. You can change this setting at any time.
Cookies are required to view location specific content.
We’ve developed a new tool on our website allowing you to see content most relevant to you and your preferred location. It’s our way of making the information you need, more personalized.
You’ll find this feature labeled “Set My Location” throughout the website. Most often, you’ll see it in the top left corner of every page.
You’ll also find a feature that allows you to set your location temporarily, as seen below.