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In Treatment For Cancer

How To Live With Chemotherapy

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Chemotherapy is the use of drugs (chemicals) to treat your cancer.

There are many different types of chemotherapy. Among other factors, the type of cancer you have and the stage will help determine the chemotherapy that may be used to eliminate your cancer.

Several chemotherapies may be used in combination. If one combination doesn't appear to be effective, the combination may be changed.

Chemotherapy may be given in several courses. The end of the first course gives the doctor an opportunity to see how well the drug worked. The doctor can then use the same drug, another drug or a combination of drugs in other courses.

There are different side effects which accompany different chemotherapies. Each side effect can either be eliminated or at least reduced in severity. Tips for living with chemotherapy are described in the article in "To Learn More."

  • Do not expect immediate results. Standard practice is to wait for 2 full cycles of treatment before looking for any response to it. This usually takes about 2 to 3 months. Response is checked by repeating the tests that show the cancer.
  • Do not take vitamins, minerals, herbs,antioxidants or other dietary supplements without first asking your doctor, nurse or dietitian whether it is okay. Some of these substances can be harmful. Some may reduce the effectiveness of the chemotherapy.
  • If medical personnel suggest or allow you take vitamins, minerals, herbs, antioxidants or other dietary supplements, do not take more than is recommended without first checking with medical personnel. 

It is better not to become pregnant while receiving chemotherapy. If you do become pregnant, tell your doctor right away.

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