How often is the chemotherapy given and how long does it take?
This is decided by:
- the type of cancer.
- the goal of the treatment — i.e. either curative or to relieve symptoms.
- the different chemotherapy drugs.
- how your body copes with the chemotherapy.
It can be given daily, weekly or monthly and given in cycles where treatment is alternated with rest periods. Just make sure that you stick to the schedule so that you can get the best results.
Can I take other medication?
It depends what you are taking. Make sure that you give your oncologist a list of any prescription drugs or over-the-counter medication you are taking so you can get the best advice for your specific situation. e.g. vitamins, allergy pills, indigestion aids, pills for colds and flu, aspirin, pain killers and any minerals or herbal supplements.
~ original colour photographs by Mary Elizabeth Gentle from “What Does Chemo Look Like?” by Allison W. Gryphon ~
How will I know if the chemotherapy is working?
When necessary, you will be sent for examinations and tests which will help your oncologist determine how effective the treatment has been. Please ask your oncologist to explain these tests to you.
Important questions to ask before you start:
When you are having treatment, it is sometimes difficult to know what to ask about — so here are some ideas to get you started:
- Why should I receive chemotherapy?
- What are the benefits of chemotherapy?
- What are the associated risks of chemotherapy?
- Are there any other methods of treatment available for my specific cancer?
- What is the standard of treatment for my type of cancer?
- Are there any ongoing clinical trials for my type of cancer?
Ask these questions about your TREATMENT SCHEDULE:
- How many chemotherapy treatments must I get?
- Which chemotherapy drugs/agents will I receive?
- How will the chemotherapy be administered?
- Where will the chemotherapy be given?
- How long will each chemotherapy treatment take?
Ask these questions about the SIDE EFFECTS of chemotherapy:
- What are the possible side effects of my chemotherapy?
- When will the side effects start?
- What side effects usually occur with my type of cancer?
- Are there any side effects that need to be reported immediately?
- What can I do to minimise the side effects?
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