What is Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs are also called cytotoxics, which means poisonous (toxic) to cells (cyto).

There are many different types of chemotherapy drugs, which are often used in different combinations and at different strengths.

Not all drugs or treatments given to cancer patients are chemotherapy or considered to be cytotoxic. They may be classified as targeted therapies which have different actions to help destroy or stop the growth of cancer cells. Your doctor will discuss what chemotherapy drugs you may require for your cancer treatment, please don’t hesitate to ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your treatment.

What is chemo radiation therapy?

Giving chemotherapy together with radiotherapy is used for some cancers, such as head and neck cancer or rectal cancer. The chemotherapy is given during the course of radiotherapy to make the radiotherapy more effective. (Understanding Chemotherapy, Cancer Council, August 2014)

Find out more from the Cancer Council NSW