What is Chemotherapy?

by | Feb 8, 2023 | Rally Blog, What Is

You just found out that your child has cancer. And that chemotherapy is part of the treatment plan. Most everyone has heard of chemotherapy. But what is it really?

Chemotherapy is any drug used to stop the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy is designed to either kill cells or stop them from dividing.

Is there just one chemotherapy? 

There are many different types of chemotherapy because different chemotherapies treat different types of cancer. Sometimes your child may receive several different types of chemotherapies.

How is chemotherapy given to my child? 

Chemotherapy may be given by mouth, injection, or by infusion—either an IV or through your child’s port. Or a combination of those. Sometimes it is given topical (on the skin). It depends on the type and stage of the cancer that is being treated.

Where and how often is chemotherapy given?

Chemotherapy may be given during a hospital stay, at home, or in an outpatient clinic.

What is a cycle of chemotherapy?

A cycle of chemotherapy is a treatment period, when the chemotherapy is given, followed by a period of rest. For example, a cycle may be two weeks of chemotherapy with a week’s rest and then two more weeks of chemo followed by a week’s rest, and the cycle continues according to your child’s treatment protocol.

Will my child need more than chemotherapy?

Often, chemotherapy is combined with other treatments such as surgery, radiation or immunotherapies.

How does chemotherapy work?

Chemotherapy can:

  • make a tumor smaller before surgery or radiation therapy
  • destroy cancer cells that may remain after surgery or radiation therapy
  • help other treatments work better
  • kill cancer cells that have returned or spread to other parts of your child’s body

Does chemotherapy kill only cancer cells?

Chemotherapy kill fast-growing cancer cells, but it also destroys or slows the growth of healthy cells.

What are the common immediate side effects from chemotherapy?

Mouth sores, nausea, and hair loss. Fatigue is another major side effect. Your doctor can prescribe medicines to help offset most of these side-effects.

We know this is a scary time and Rally is here for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.


Sign up for our emails!

Fill out my online form.