Chemotherapy for secondary bone cancer

Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. It works by disrupting the way cancer cells grow and divide, but it also affects normal cells.

Where the primary cancer started in the body will affect:

For example, if you have breast cancer that has spread to the bones, you will have chemotherapy drugs that are used to treat breast cancer.

How chemotherapy is given

You may have chemotherapy in different ways, including:

  • by injection into a vein (intravenously)
  • as a drip (infusion) in a vein
  • by injection into muscle or under the skin
  • by mouth (orally) as tablets or capsules.

You usually have chemotherapy as several sessions of treatment. Each one is usually followed by a rest period. This allows your body to recover from the side effects before the next session. The length of rest period will vary depending on which type of chemotherapy you have.

The chemotherapy session and the rest period make up a cycle of treatment. Your doctor or nurse will explain how many cycles of treatment you need and how you will have your chemotherapy.

Side effects

Chemotherapy drugs may cause unpleasant side effects, but these can usually be well controlled with medicines. Side effects will usually improve once treatment has finished. Different drugs cause different side effects and some people may have very few side effects. Some side effects can take longer to get better and, rarely, some can be permanent. You can talk to your doctor or nurse about what to expect from your treatment.

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