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 cancer started in the body (the primary) will affect:

  • whether you can have chemotherapy
  • which chemotherapy drugs are used.

For example, if you have breast cancer that has spread to the bones, you’ll 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)
  • by injection into muscle or under the skin
  • by mouth (orally).

You will usually have chemotherapy as several sessions of treatment. Each one is followed by a rest period of a few weeks. This allows your body to recover from the side effects before the next session.

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’ll have your chemotherapy.

Side effects of chemotherapy

Chemotherapy drugs may cause unpleasant side effects, but 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 the treatment that’s planned for you.

We have more information about chemotherapy and the chemotherapy drugs you may have.