People receive chemotherapy (chemo) in a number of different ways:
- Injection. Types of injection include:
- Subcutaneous (SQ): Chemo given as a shot just under the skin
- Intramuscular (IM): Chemo given as a shot directly into a muscle
- Intravenous (IV): Chemo given as a shot directly into a vein
- IV infusion: Chemo medications are dripped through a tube that is attached to a needle and put into a vein.
- Oral: Chemo is taken by mouth as a pill or liquid.
- Topical: Chemo is given in the form of a cream that is rubbed into the skin.
- Intra-arterial (IA): Chemo goes into an artery that is connected to the tumor.
- Intraperitoneal (IP): Chemo goes directly into the area that contains the intestines, stomach, liver, ovaries, etc. This area is called the peritoneal cavity.
Most chemo is given in a cancer clinic, center, or hospital. Some types of chemo may be given at home.
One session of chemo can take up to hours to complete. Bring books, music, magazines, or a friend to keep you company.
Getting a Catheter or Port
Having to put an IV in for every chemo session can be difficult. Your doctor may suggest you have a device implanted just under the skin that will allow easy access for IV chemo. This implant—called a vascular access device, or VAD—can be a catheter or port. In a relatively simple surgery, a port is placed in a vein, often in the chest. The device can stay in place over a long period of time. It will require some care and cleaning to avoid risk of infection around the port or catheter.
The Chemotherapy and Infection Discussion Guide can help you understand your
risk of infection
Infection can be a serious side effect of strong chemo. Find out the factors that affect your risk of infection. Simply answer a few questions, and then print your results to share with your doctor.
Use the Chemotherapy and Infection Discussion Guide to find out more.