Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy PatientChemotherapy means the use of special powerful drugs to destroy cancer cells throughout the body. Sometimes several drugs are given at the same time. Chemotherapy can be the main type of treatment or it can be used along with surgery and/or radiation therapy. Sometimes chemotherapy is used to shrink the tumor before other treatment. Sometimes it is used to kill any cancers cells that are left after the first treatment. It may also be used in later stages of the disease to relieve cancer symptoms.

Most of these drugs are either taken as a pill or given by IV (intravenous) line. The treatment is given in cycles. Each period of treatment is followed by a recovery period.

Chemotherapy can also kill normal cells like blood, skin and nerve cells. When normal cells die, it can cause side effects. There is the promise of a type of chemotherapy that only targets cancer cells. This type of therapy, called targeted therapy, avoids healthy cells and reduces side effects.

Possible Side Effects
•  Loss of Appetite •  Hair Loss
•  Nausea •  Fatigue
•  Vomiting •  Increased Risk of Infection
•  Mouth Sores •  Increased Bleeding or Bruising
» Learn how to cope with side effects

Discuss concerns, possible side effects and any effects that you experience with your doctor.

Patients can also have long-term effects from cancer drugs. Some of those side effects include premature menopause, infertility or heart or lung damage. There are treatments available to help prevent or lessen the side effects of chemotherapy. Discuss these options with your doctor.

To get started, use this list of suggested questions.

Early detection of lung cancer can increase survival rates. Call the Lung Helpline at 1-800-LUNGUSA or talk to your doctor about lung cancer screening.