Cancer Support Group

Monday, Jun 24th

Last update:06:42:40 AM GMT

General Queries on Cancer

How will I get Chemotherapy?
Depending on the type of cancer you have and the drug or drugs you are getting, your Chemotherapy may be given in one or more of the following ways:

Into a vein: You will get the drug through a thin needle inserted into a vein, usually on your hand or lower arm. Another way to get IV Chemotherapy is by means of a Catheter, a thin tube that is placed into a large vein in your body and remains there as long as it is needed. This type of catheter is known as a Central Venous Catheter. Sometimes, a Central Venous Catheter is attached to a port, a small plastic or metal container placed surgically under the skin.

By mouth (orally, or PO) in pill, capsule, or liquid form. You will swallow the drug, just as you do many other medications.

Into a muscle (Intramuscularly, or IM), under the skin (Subcutaneously, or SQ or SC), or directly into a cancerous area in the skin (Intralesionally, or IL). You will get an injection with a needle.
Topically: The medication will be applied onto the skin.

Chemotherapy also may be delivered to specific areas of the body using a catheter (or a Catheter plus a port). Catheters may be placed directly into the spinal fluid, abdominal cavity, bladder, or liver. Your doctor or nurse may use specific terms when talking about certain types of catheters. For example, an Iintra–thecal (IT) Catheter is used to deliver drugs into the Spinal fluid. Intra–cavitary (IC) catheters can be placed in the abdomen, pelvis, or chest.

Two kinds of pumps – external and internal – may be used to control the rate of delivery of Chemotherapy. External pumps remain outside the body. Some are portable and allow a person to move around while the pump is in use. Other external pumps are not portable and may restrict activity. Internal pumps are placed surgically inside the body, usually right under the skin. They contain a small reservoir (storage area) that delivers the drugs into the catheter. Internal pumps allow people to go about most of their daily activities.

Does Chemotherapy hurt?
Getting Chemotherapy by mouth, on the skin, or by injection generally feels the same as taking other medications by these methods. Having an IV started usually feels like drawing blood for a blood test. Some people feel a coolness or other unusual sensation in the area of the injection when the IV is started. Report such feelings to your doctor or nurse. Be sure that you also report any pain, burning, or discomfort that occurs during or after an IV treatment.

Many people have little or no trouble having the IV needle in their hand or lower arm. However, if a person has a hard time for any reason, or if it becomes difficult to insert the needle into a vein for each treatment, it may be possible to use a Central Venous Catheter or Port. This avoids repeated insertion of the needle into the vein.

Central Venous Catheters and Ports cause no pain or discomfort if they are properly placed and cared for, although a person usually is aware that they are there. It is important to report any pain or discomfort with a Catheter or Port to your doctor or nurse.

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