Why do I have to have chemo?

Chemotherapy fights and kills the cancer cells in your body. Unlike other treatment options, chemotherapy attacks cancer cells that have spread to other parts of your body to help stop and prevent cancer from returning.

How is chemotherapy administered?

Depending on your treatment plan chemotherapy is either given as a pill or an infusion. Infusion is where liquid medicine is administered intravenously. Infusion is done either via an IV in your hand, arm, port catheter, or PICC line.

What are common side effects?

The side effects you may experience from chemotherapy depend on the regimen you’re receiving. Side effects vary from drug to drug and person to person. Some side effects are more common such as fatigue, dehydration, decreased appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Though these side effects may be most common, they are not as prevalent as they once were due to years of research and advancements in care. Many patients go back to work or back to their everyday activities, and function as they did before their diagnosis.

The most common side effect is fatigue. Fatigue for someone facing cancer is much different than for those without the disease. Your body is fighting off cancer, and it’s in overdrive. Fatigue can build over time. We encourage you to stay active and continue to do your normal everyday activities. Simple things like walking to your mailbox and back, or playing outside with your family can help offset the fatigue you are feeling.

Will I lose my hair on chemo?

Cancer treatments have come a long way over the years, and some of the side effects we once associated with chemotherapy aren’t a given anymore. This side effect depends on your type of cancer, and the specifics drugs utilized in treating you. With some regimens, you may lose your hair, but not all.