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Chemotherapy (chemo) is a cancer treatment that comes in several forms, including pills, shots, and intravenous (IV) injections. Chemotherapy differs from surgery or radiation in that medicine travels throughout the entire body rather than being localized in one area. This is important because chemotherapy can reach cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body.
Chemotherapy is administered in cycles with a rest period following each cycle to give the body time to recover. Chemotherapy may be given before surgery to shrink a tumor or after surgery to reduce the chances of the cancer returning.
Side effects vary widely by each patient based on the amount of chemotherapy and the type administered. Your doctor and nurse will talk to you about ways to manage any possible side effects.