Once your team of cancer specialists carefully reviews the results of your diagnostic tests, they will recommend whether chemotherapy should be a part of your treatment plan.

You can receive chemotherapy in any of the following ways:

  • By itself, to combat spreading cancer
  • Before surgery or radiation to those treatments more effective
  • After surgery, to help kill any remaining cancer cells

Depending on the type of cancer and where it is found, chemotherapy drugs may be given different ways, including:

  • Injections or shots into the muscles
  • Injections or shots under the skin
  • Into an artery
  • Into a vein (intravenous, or IV)
  • Pills taken by mouth
  • Shots into the fluid around the spinal cord or brain

When chemotherapy is given over a longer period, a thin catheter can be placed into a large vein near the heart. This is called a central line. The catheter is placed during a minor surgery.

Your team of Comprehensive Cancer Center specialists will guide you through the entire chemotherapy process. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Your team of specialists will determine how many chemotherapy appointments you will need and you will receive all treatments in our clinic.
  • During your visit, you may meet with one of our oncologists. He or she will discuss your progress and help you make any additional decisions about treatment.
  • Over the course of treatment, your team will assess whether you need more tests, including CT, MRI, or PET scans, to monitor and treat your condition.

Your team will advise whether you will have chemotherapy alone, or if it will be a part of treatments that can also include surgery and/or radiation.

Chemotherapy Side Effects

Chemotherapy can have side effects. However, they depend on what drugs you are taking and how much you take. Side effects can include:

  • Infections
  • Bruising
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

Side effects generally disappear after you complete chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy Education at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist

Hear from April Lampkin, RN, MSN, OCN, as she walks through our new patient chemotherapy class.