Chemotherapy includes "anticancer" drugs or a combination of drugs to treat cancer.

These drugs act on cancer cells by impairing their ability to divide and make new cancer cells. Combination therapy is when two or more drugs are used to treat cancer. Chemotherapy can be used in several different ways. It can be used to: cure the cancer, keep it from spreading, slow the cancer's growth, relieve cancer symptoms or kill cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body from the original tumor.


Chemotherapy is usually given in combination with other types of cancer treatments such as surgery and radiation. Neoadjuvant therapy is when chemotherapy is administered before surgery to shrink a tumor. Chemotherapy given after surgery or radiation is called adjuvant therapy. Chemotherapy is primarily given on an outpatient basis.

Treatments are given mainly in on-and-off cycles to allow rest periods for the body to build new, healthy cells and regain strength. Treatment cycles vary from patient to patient.

Depending on the drug given and the location of the cancer, chemotherapy can be administered in one or more of the following ways:

  • By mouth - pill, capsule, or liquid form
  • Intravenous - injected through a needle or catheter in the vein
  • Intrathecal - drug is injected into your spinal canal
  • Topical - medication is applied on skin
  • Intraarterial - drug is injected directly into an artery to treat a single area (such as your liver, arm, or leg)
  • Intraperitoneal - drug is injected into the abdomen
  • Subcutaneous - medication is injected through the skin

UMC’s Chemotherapy Facilities

The medical oncologists of the UMC Southwest Cancer Center are setting the standard of excellence in our comprehensive cancer program that serves this entire region by:

  • Providing state-of-the-art care with a gift of compassion.
  • Multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and treatment.
  • Strong collaboration between the Departments of Radiation, Surgery, Anesthesiology, Pain Management.
  • Furthering the development of the understanding and prevention of cancer.
  • Improving the methods of cancer detection and diagnosis.
  • Empowering patients through education to make informed decisions.
  • Providing holistic care that can deal with demands not related to the cancer itself.     
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