Chemotherapy is a common treatment procedure for cancer that uses drug therapy to destroy cancerous cells that grow from organs or blood in the body. The drugs inhibit the further growth and spread of cancerous cells and different combinations of medications can be used to destroy cancerous cells.
Chemotherapy can destroy cancer cells completely, and is often used in combination with other therapies, such as radiation, surgery or hormone therapy. It often follows the surgical removal of tumors so that any lingering cancer cells can be killed as well. Chemotherapy may be used to shrink a tumor prior to it's surgical removal. It can also treat cancer cells that have metastasised to other parts of the body far away from the primary tumor.
Chemotherapy is also used for non-cancer conditions such as preparing for a bone marrow stem cell transplant or it can be given in lower doses to control an overactive immune system.
Learn how to manage the side effects of chemotherapy here.