It’s quite common to experience digestive troubles while undergoing chemotherapy and even for some time after treatment. Since many chemotherapies target fast-growing cells, like cancer cells, they can disrupt the growth of some cells involved in digestion. In some cases, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation can be the result, all of which can be uncomfortable … Read more
What is chemotherapy? Chemotherapy is a powerful group of medicines that are used to treat cancer throughout the body. Chemotherapy (chemo) work by a variety of different mechanisms, but their general effect is to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells, which divide and grow quickly. The most common ways chemo may be given include intravenous (IV), … Read more
Every cancer patient is different, and there are many different types of cancer treatment that a patient may receive—all of which is dependent on their unique circumstances. A patient may only receive one type of treatment or a combination of multiple different treatments. Treatment can also have different goals. In some cases, treatment is used … Read more
It is widely assumed that if you have cancer, you will eventually lose all your hair. But is cancer itself the hair-loss culprit? The answer is no. Alopecia, or hair loss, occurs as a secondary result of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Both chemotherapy and radiation attack the rapidly growing cancer cells in your body. The … Read more
Chemotherapy agents can be divided into three major classes, based on the manner in which they act on cancer cells: Drugs that are active against dividing cells by targeting a specific phase of the cell cycle—the process by which cells duplicate their DNA and separate into two daughter cells. Drugs that are active against dividing … Read more
Chemotherapy has long been a mainstay of cancer treatment. But a lot has changed since Sidney Farber, MD, the founder of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, achieved the first remissions for pediatric leukemia using chemotherapy in the 1940s. Today, in the era of precision cancer medicine, there are newer treatments and chemotherapy that can more specifically target … Read more
Chemotherapy has been traditionally used as an “adjuvant” treatment in many patients with cancer — administered after surgery to kill microscopic tumor cells that remain in the body after surgical removal of the tumor. More recently, it has also come to be used in a “neoadjuvant” setting — to shrink tumors before they are surgically … Read more
Chemotherapy infusion is one of the most common and effective cancer treatments. It has been in use as a cancer treatment since the 1940s, when Dana-Farber founder Sidney Farber, MD, used it to achieve the first clinical remission ever reported for childhood leukemia. For a treatment that has been around such a long time, you … Read more
People experience side effects with varying levels of severity during their chemotherapy treatment. Due to advancements in palliative care, most people are able to manage their side effects during chemotherapy very effectively.
Targeted therapies take aim at the specific genetic changes and the proteins within cancer cells that drive their chaotic growth.
Cancer chemotherapy is the most common cause of neutropenia, which can be treated depending on its cause and severity.
Hear the word “chemotherapy” and you might immediately think about hair loss, nausea, and fatigue. But the truth is it’s not as scary as you might think. Here’s what to expect at your first chemotherapy appointment.
Scalp hypothermia, more commonly known as scalp cooling, is a relatively new treatment to try to prevent or reduce hair loss during chemotherapy. It involves placing a tight, cooled cap on the head before, during, and after each chemo session. The cooling cap is attached to a machine that circulates a liquid coolant through the … Read more
Chemotherapy and biotherapy are both used to destroy cancer cells. So how are they different, and how are they similar? Traditional chemotherapy uses chemical substances to treat cancer. Biological therapy, by contrast, uses living organisms, substances derived from organisms, or laboratory-made versions of those substances to act against cancer cells. How does chemotherapy work? Most … Read more
Along with hair loss, nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy are among patients’ greatest concerns during cancer treatment. Fortunately, great strides have been made in the past decade or two, thanks to new generations of anti-nausea medications and better understanding of how to use them. Many patients won’t experience these distressing symptoms, or will have only … Read more
Marijuana occupies a complicated position among the substances used to alleviate symptoms associated with cancer and cancer treatment. On the one hand, nearly half of U.S. states, mostly in the far west, northeast, and upper midwest, have legalized Cannabis (the plant from which marijuana is derived) for medical purposes. Others have legalized just one ingredient … Read more
Medically reviewed by Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD Cancer treatments like chemotherapy can affect how your taste buds interact with different flavors, changing the way you experience certain food. A recurring metallic taste while eating or drinking water is one of the most common taste changes reported by patients. Although this symptom typically subsides after treatment … Read more
Just hearing the word chemotherapy can bring forth a slew of worries and concerns for new cancer patients: “Does it hurt? Will it cause my hair to fall out? Is it safe for me to be around my loved ones? Will I feel nauseous or start vomiting as soon as treatment begins?” Such concerns are … Read more
Many cancer patients experience “chemobrain” – mental clouding or fogginess – during and after chemotherapy treatment. The condition, which can also be worsened by surgery and radiation, can include symptoms like weakened short-term memory, problems finding words, short attention span, and difficulty concentrating and multitasking. Fremonta Meyer, MD, a clinical psychiatrist in Dana-Farber’s Department of … Read more
Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), a condition that is a result of nerve damage caused by cancer treatment, can be a frustrating side effect patients face. People with CIPN can experience tingling, numbness and pain in the arms, hands, legs and feet. Although there is no clear CIPN treatment that can improve nerve damage, a combination … Read more