Chemotherapy can be used in combination with other treatments to either shrink tumors before surgery or radiation (neoadjuvant therapy), or to make sure all cancer cells have been eliminated after other treatments have been performed (adjuvant therapy).
Intravenous (IV) is the most common method. A needle is inserted into a vein and attached with tubing to a plastic bag holding the drug. For patients who undergo several chemotherapy sessions, a catheter is inserted into one of the large veins and left in place during the entire course of treatment. Some patients have a metal or plastic port implanted under the skin as an IV connection device.
Oral chemotherapy drugs are taken by mouth, either in pill or liquid form.
Injections are administered into the muscle, under the skin or directly into a cancer lesion, depending on the type or location of the cancer.
Isolated limb perfusion is a method of administering chemotherapy drugs directly to tumors in the arm or leg. The blood supply of the affected limb is isolated from the rest of the body. Then, heated chemotherapy drugs are pumped into the treatment area through tubes inserted into tiny incisions. Isolated limb perfusion is used to treat advanced or metastatic melanoma and some sarcomas.
Hepatic arterial infusion is used to treat liver cancer. A tiny pump is surgically inserted under the skin and connected to the hepatic artery, which supplies blood to the liver. Drugs are administered through the pump over a period of about two weeks.
Our chemotherapy unit is specifically designed to provide a welcoming environment with well-trained caring nurses and pharmacists dedicated to chemotherapeutic medication management for our patients who undergo chemotherapy.