Cancer Research UK on Google+ Cancer Research UK on Facebook Cancer Research UK on Twitter

Chemotherapy and cancer

Nurse and patients talking about cancer   

This page tells you about chemotherapy for cancer. There is information about

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Chemotherapy literally means drug treatment. In cancer treatment it means using cell killing (cytotoxic) drugs. Whether chemotherapy is a suitable treatment for you, and which drugs you might have, depends on 

  • Your type of cancer
  • What the cancer cells look like under a microscope
  • Whether the cancer has spread
  • Your general health 

You may have treatment with a single chemotherapy drug or a combination of drugs. You may have chemotherapy on its own or with other treatments. 

For some types of cancer, people have high dose chemotherapy treatment as part of a bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant
 

PDF Download symbol You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the about chemotherapy section.

 

 

What chemotherapy is

Chemotherapy literally means drug treatment. In cancer treatment, the term chemotherapy means treatment with cell killing (cytotoxic) drugs. You may have just one chemotherapy drug or a combination of different chemotherapy drugs. There are more than 100 different drugs currently available and new ones are being developed all the time. You may have chemotherapy with other types of cancer drugs. We have detailed information about other types of cancer drugs.

Whether chemotherapy is a suitable treatment for you, and which drugs you might have, depends on many things. These include

  • The type of cancer you have
  • Where in your body the cancer started
  • What the cancer cells look like under the microscope (the grade)
  • Whether the cancer has spread
  • Your general health
 

How chemotherapy is used

You may have chemotherapy as a single drug or a combination of drugs. You may have it on its own or with other treatments such as

You may have high dose chemotherapy treatment as part of a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. There is information about these treatments in the bone marrow and stem cell transplants section.

Rate this page:
Submit rating

 

Rated 4 out of 5 based on 16 votes
Rate this page
Rate this page for no comments box
Please enter feedback to continue submitting
Send feedback
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team

No Error

Updated: 13 December 2014