How Chemotherapy Works: An Introductory Guide

Medically Reviewed by Madeline Hubbard, RN, BSN

Photo Courtesy: [Cavan Images/Getty Images]

Cancer develops due to the uncontrollable growth of harmful cells or a tumor in the body. Types of cancer can differ based on the region where they grow in a person’s body or the type of bodily systems that are affected by that growth. Many people who are diagnosed with cancer are advised to undergo chemotherapy to treat the disease.

Approximately 650,000 patients with cancer receive outpatient chemotherapy in the U.S. each year. This type of treatment can be very effective in eliminating or stopping the spread of cancer, but it does have some risks to consider as well. Learn the basics about chemotherapy, including how it works, what to expect when undergoing treatment and the potential side effects to consider.