Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherpay works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy is usually prescribed in a specific number of cycles given over a period of time.
Chemotherapy treatment plans are formulated in accordance with national guidelines such as those approved by the NSW Cancer Institute. Chemotherapy is often an effective treatment however it can cause side effects because the drugs also affect healthy cells. Side effects often include nausea, vomiting and fatigue but can vary greatly in form and severity depending on the specific drug, cancer type and the individual's reaction. Many of the new chemotherapy drugs now available do not cause the same severity of side effects as the older drugs. Although the side effects are often unpleasant they are not related to the effectiveness of the treatment and generally go away after treatments are finished.