11652 Studt Avenue St. Louis, MO 63141

Opening Hours : Mon - Thurs 8:30am to 4:30pm Friday 8:30 - 1pm
  Contact : 314-991-5445 Fax: 314-991-5447

What is Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs (anti-neoplastic agents) to treat cancer.

What is the purpose of chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy can be used to cure or control the spread of the cancer. It can also be used in a palliative manner to control the symptoms of cancer. Finally chemotherapy can be used to make cancer more sensitive to radiotherapy.

How does it work?

Anticancer drugs attack rapidly growing cells. They work by directly destroying the cancer cells or depriving them of essential substances, or by blocking them at specific points in their cell life cycle. Cancer drugs are sometimes more effective if given in combination.

How is it given?

Chemotherapy is usually given intravenously (in a vein). In some cases it can be given intraperitoneally (in the belly) or intramuscularly. We recommend that patients receiving intravenous chemotherapy have a port placed, while patients receiving intraperitoneal chemotherapy must have a port placed — more on this later. Most treatments can be given in the office, rarely certain drug regimens require hospitalization overnight or for several days.

Chemotherapy treatments are given weekly or every three to four weeks. The exact schedule depends on the drugs and how your body responds to them. Sometimes it may be necessary to delay treatment until you recover from the side effects. The duration of treatment varies based on the cancer, the goal of the treatment and your own response. We will outline the schedule and duration of the treatment initially and we will discuss any changes in the plan.

Which drugs will I get?

Different cancers respond better to certain drugs. The treatment you get will depend on the type of cancer as well as the site it originated from. The choice of drugs can also depend on medical conditions you may have such as diabetes, heart, liver or kidney disease. We will outline your best treatment options.

Does chemotherapy Hurt?

No, chemotherapy is not painful.

Can I work during chemotherapy?

Many patients are able to continue to work during treatment. Chemotherapy can cause you to feel tired and drained. The first few days after treatment are the toughest. Before you return to work it is important to plan ahead:

green arrow What you will tell your co-workers about your condition.
green arrow Set realistic work expectations.
green arrow Discuss your situation with your supervisor. If possible, arrange flexible work hours.
green arrow Federal law may provide you with certain other job protection.
If necessary, our office can assist you in applying for disability.

Should I take my other medicines?

It is important to continue your usual medication. Some medicines may interfere with chemotherapy. It is crucial to tell us about any medicine you take including Aspirin. Also let us know about changes in your medication.

Do I need to eat a special diet?

Eating a well balanced diet while you are receiving chemotherapy is critical. You should continue to eat foods from all major food groups. However, if you become neutropenic –have a low white blood cell count—we will instruct you to avoid fresh fruits and vegetables (cooked fruits/vegetables are OK).
For the first two to three days following treatment you might want to avoid greasy foods or meals with strong aromas. If you experience nausea or an unsettled stomach you might find it easier to eat “cold” meals. It may also be helpful to supplement your diet with Slimfast, Ensure or Sustacal.