Chemotherapy is medication to treat cancer. Cancer cells rapidly divide and multiply even when your body signals them to stop. Chemotherapy works by slowing or stopping these rapidly growing cells. It’s a common treatment option for cancer.
There are many different types of chemotherapy medications and combinations, but there are two general types of chemotherapy:
- Regional chemotherapy affects a specific area of your body instead of your whole body. Oncologists use it to target a tumor or tumors contained in just one area. It can also be used to reduce certain cancer side effects.
- Systemic chemotherapy affects your entire body or system. Oncologists use it to target cancer cells that may be spread throughout different areas of your body.
The goal of chemotherapy varies depending on the type of cancer and its stage. Chemotherapy may cure some cancers, especially in early stages. Chemotherapy can also help control symptoms and cancers that can’t be cured.
Find a Doctor or call (877) 914-1670 to learn more about your options for chemotherapy in Arizona. At Dignity Health, we offer outpatient infusion centers to provide a special healing environment for patients undergoing chemotherapy. Our advanced care team will customize your care throughout your treatment.
Reasons for Prescribing Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy treats many types of cancer. Your doctor may use chemotherapy as:
- Adjuvant chemotherapy, to destroy cancer cells that may be left after surgery or radiation therapy
- Concomitant chemotherapy, together with surgery or radiation therapy to help them work better
- Neoadjuvant chemotherapy, to help shrink tumors before surgery or radiation therapy
- Relief of symptoms, such as pain or bleeding, from tumors or cancer cells
- Treatment for recurrent or metastatic cancers
Risks & Complications
Side effects are likely with chemotherapy because of the way it works — by slowing or stopping rapidly multiplying cells. Your body has some cells that normally multiply quickly. This means chemotherapy can affect healthy cells, too, causing side effects. Healthy cells typically affected by chemotherapy include cells of the hair follicles and lining of the mouth, nose, and digestive tract.
In general, fatigue is the most common side effect of chemotherapy. Ask your doctor about the specific risks and complications of your chemotherapy.
What to Expect with Chemotherapy in Arizona
You can receive chemotherapy through a variety of methods or devices. You will receive chemotherapy in your local Dignity Health hospital. Some chemotherapy regimens may require an overnight hospital stay. You can take other types of chemotherapy, such as tablets and lotions, at home.
For outpatient chemotherapy treatments, you can go home after the treatment. It may take a few days to a week to recover after each treatment.
Rely on our team of board-certified oncology doctors, surgeons, and more to provide the quality cancer care you deserve. Dignity Health offers patients with cancer advanced techniques for chemotherapy in Arizona.