Published: Aug. 26, 2011
Updated: Aug. 26, 2011
Chemotherapy involves administering drugs that kill cancer cells.
Systemic chemotherapy is administered to the whole body via an oral medication or an injection. Regional chemotherapy is administered to just one part of the body such as the spinal cord, an organ such as the liver, or a part of the body such as the abdomen.
Chemotherapy is frequently an outpatient procedure.
In this treatment, high doses of systemic chemotherapy are administered, which destroys the cancer cells, but as a side effect, other normal cells in the bone marrow are also killed.
The patient then receives an infusion of stem cells, which will develop into new, healthy bone marrow cells. These stem cells may be the patient's own (autologous stem cell rescue -- harvested from the patient before receiving high dose chemotherapy), or they may be from a related or unrelated donor (allogenic stem cell transplant).
Chemotherapy is effective at killing cancer cells, but it can kill normal cells too, resulting in side effects. Your child's doctor will adjust your regimen to reduce side effects as much as possible.
Side effects of chemotherapy can include: