- 01 Mar 2020, 12:09
-Chemotherapy treatment may be a single drug or a combination of drugs. The drugs may all be given on a single day, several consecutive days, or continuously as an outpatient or as an inpatient. Treatment could last minutes, hours, or days, depending on the specific protocol.
-Chemotherapy may repeat weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Usually, a cycle is defined in monthly intervals. For example, two bi-weekly chemotherapy sessions may be classified as one cycle.
-In most cases, the number of cycles - or the length of chemotherapy from start to finish - has been determined by research and clinical trials.
-When cure is the treatment goal. Adjuvant chemotherapy (therapy after surgery has removed all visible cancer) may last 4-6 months. Adjuvant chemotherapy is common in cancers of the breast and colon. In cancers of the testis, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and leukemias, length of chemotherapy treatment may be up to a year.
-When there is visible disease, the length of chemotherapy treatment will depend upon the response of the disease to therapy.
- If the disease disappears completely, chemotherapy may continue for 1-2 cycles beyond this observation to maximize the chance of having attacked all microscopic disease.
-If the disease shrinks but does not disappear, chemotherapy will continue as long as it is tolerated and the disease does not grow.
-If the disease grows, the chemotherapy will be stopped. Depending on the health and wishes of the patient, either different drugs will be given to try to kill the cancer, or chemotherapy will be stopped and the goal changed to focus on patient comfort.
-It is usually taken for at least 5 to 10 years. Hormone therapy can also be used to treat cancer that has come back after treatment or that has spread to other parts of the body.