The Different Ways You Can Get Chemotherapy for Oral Cancer
When you have oral cancer, it is common to have chemotherapy before having surgery or before radiation. You may also get it after surgery. Or, you may have it at the same time you have radiation, or after those treatments end.1,2 Your doctor has these three ways to give you chemotherapy drugs to treat oral cancer.2
You take chemotherapy in cycles. Each cycle includes a few days or weeks you take the medicine, followed by a few days or weeks of rest – without chemotherapy. This cycle reduces damage to healthy cells. Rests in between treatment give cells a chance to recover. Your doctor will decide if you need to get chemotherapy daily, weekly, every few weeks, or monthly. It’s common to have chemotherapy treatment for 3 to 6 months.3
You may not have to spend the night in the hospital to get chemotherapy. That means that you may get it at a clinic or doctor’s office. You may even have the treatment at home. At the clinic or office, you may be watched for reactions during your treatments. 1
1“Chemotherapy and You.” National Cancer Institute, pp. 1-3. May 2007 http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/chemotherapy-and-you.pdf Accessed 2010.
2 “Chemotherapy: What It Is, How it Works.” American Cancer Society. April 28, 2010 http://www.cancer.org/cancer/oralcavityandoropharyngealcancer/detailedguide/oral-cavity-and-oropharyngeal-cancer-treating-chemotherapy Accessed 2010.
3 “How Is Chemotherapy Given?” American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/TreatmentTypes/Chemotherapy/WhatItIsHowItHelps/index.htm Accessed 2010.