Chemotherapy drugs may be given into a vein (intravenously) or as tablets. The most commonly used chemotherapy drug is doxorubicin.
Other chemotherapy drugs that may be used include:
- cisplatin (sometimes in combination with doxorubicin)
- fluorouracil (5FU) in combination with oxaliplatin.
You usually have chemotherapy as a session of treatments called cycles. Each cycle lasts a day or two, followed by a rest period of a few weeks. The rest period allows your body to recover.
You usually have chemotherapy as an outpatient in the chemotherapy unit. The nurse will explain what to expect. You may have the drugs through a cannula (small tube), which is put into a vein in your hand or arm. Some drugs are given as a drip (infusion) over a few hours.
Chemotherapy drugs may cause unpleasant side effects. These can usually be well controlled with medicines and will usually go away once treatment has finished. Not all drugs cause the same side effects and some people may have very few. You can talk to your doctor or nurse about what to expect from your treatment.