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 cancer chemotherapy                                                             

 

Methods of use of chemotherapy drugs  

Chemotherapy can be taken by infusion or orally in the form of capsules, tablets or liquid; however, most of the time, chemotherapy is administered intravenously. The mode of administration used depends on the stage and type of cancer, as well as the type of chemotherapy and the dosage. Sometimes, intravenous treatment requires hospitalization. If the situation requires it, your oncologist may recommend that you to stay in hospital for several days to several months. 

If you are undergoing continuous, frequent or prolonged intravenous chemotherapy, your doctor may surgically installed a port in your vascular system in order to avoid multiple needle sticks. In addition, a chemotherapy port makes you more comfortable during the injection, and it is safer for your overall health. There are several types of portacath used in chemotherapy; the most common used are: 

 

  • port-a-cath (portacath or catheter)  
  • Hickman catheter (or catheter tunneled)
  • PICC line (Peripherally Inserted Central for catheter or peripherally inserted central catheter).

 Although these ports can be accompanied by a very small risk of infection, they reduce the risk of damage that the drugs can cause to the veins: deep vein thrombosis or leakage of the medication outside of the vessel where it should be introduced (extravasation). Some patients do not wear these systems; however, they are very important because some chemotherapeutic agents can damage or kill surrounding tissue.