Guide to Managing Your Chemotherapy Treatment: Introduction

MD Anderson Cancer Center
Date: November 2012

>> [background music] The first time they hooked me up to chemo I found out what it was all about.  It just felt like a lot of foreign things coming out, you know the bags, the tubes, the everything.

>> Once I sat down and I talked with my doctor, she explained to me you know everybody doesn't have the same symptoms.  It works differently on each patient as they undergo the treatment.

>> It really is a journey.  You can't sprint through it and you definitely don't want to walk through it.  But it's a journey.

>> If you've been diagnosed with cancer and your treatment plan calls for chemotherapy, you may have some questions or wonder what to expect.  In this program you'll learn what chemotherapy is, how it works, what to expect, how to manage potential side effects and what resources are available to help you and your family cope.  This program is a supplement to The Guide to Managing Your Chemotherapy Treatment.  The booklet will help you find more detailed information quickly.  Chemotherapy refers to drugs used to treat cancer.  These cancer fighting drugs work to destroy cells of the primary tumor and also cancer cells that have metastasized or spread to lymph nodes and other parts of the body far away from the original tumor.

hemotherapy can be given by tablet or capsule, topical application such as cream or ointment, injection or infusion into an artery or vein.  You may receive chemotherapy in the hospital, the clinic or at home.  Your treatment plan depends on your diagnosis.  Chemotherapy is given in cycles.  Your first day of chemotherapy is day one of the treatment cycle.  You'll receive treatment for one or more days and then you'll stop chemotherapy for one or more days.  The days without treatment are called rest days.  The time between your first day of chemotherapy and your last rest day is one cycle.