Chemotherapy may be given in many ways.
- Injection. The chemotherapy is given by a shot in a muscle in your
arm, thigh, or hip or right under the skin in the fatty part of your arm, leg,
- Intra-arterial (IA). The chemotherapy goes directly into the artery
that is feeding the cancer.
- Intraperitoneal (IP). The chemotherapy goes directly into the
peritoneal cavity (the area that contains organs such as your intestines,
stomach, liver, and ovaries).
- Intravenous (IV). The chemotherapy goes directly into a
- Topically. The chemotherapy comes in a cream that you rub onto your
- Orally. The chemotherapy comes in pills, capsules, or liquids that
Things to know about getting chemotherapy through an IV
Chemotherapy is often given through a thin needle that is placed in a
vein on your hand or lower arm. Your nurse will put the needle in at the
start of each treatment and remove it when treatment is over. Let your
doctor or nurse know right away if you feel pain or burning while you are
getting IV chemotherapy.
IV chemotherapy is often given through catheters or ports, sometimes
with the help of a pump.
Catheters. A catheter is a soft, thin tube. A surgeon places
one end of the catheter in a large vein, often in your chest area. The
other end of the catheter stays outside your body. Most catheters stay
in place until all your chemotherapy treatments are done. Catheters can
also be used for drugs other than chemotherapy and to draw blood. Be
sure to watch for signs of infection around your catheter.
Ports. A port is a small, round disc made of plastic or metal
that is placed under your skin. A catheter connects the port to a large
vein, most often in your chest. Your nurse can insert a needle into your
port to give you chemotherapy or draw blood. This needle can be left in
place for chemotherapy treatments that are given for more than 1 day. Be
sure to watch for signs of infection around your port.
Pumps. Pumps are often attached to catheters or ports. They
control how much and how fast chemotherapy goes into a catheter or port.
Pumps can be internal or external. External pumps remain outside your
body. Most people can carry these pumps with them. Internal pumps are
placed under your skin during surgery.
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