DD, Aged 17

    When people would talk they didn't know what to say which was understandable.  more...


    Mimi - 15 years old

    I lost myself doing stupid things, angry and sad and depressed at everything. I ended up failing my classes, not caring about school, and getting into fights.  more...


    Chelsea - 14 years old

    I stuck my head round the door in the room mum was in, and she looked really ill. I couldn't understand what was happening - one minute my mum was fine and the next she was ill.  more...


    Clair - aged 14

    Something I wish is I could just have one more day with my dad! - to tell him how much I love him and how sorry I am for all the bad things I have said and done to him!  more...


    Nicole - 17 years old

    This time the doctors are unable to operate. He has already had 6 sessions of chemo and is having another 6 sessions. I cannot help feeling I may lose him.  more...


    Rirrif - 15 years old

    I have been staying with my dad because my mom doesn't want me around when she is sick, which is all the time. My dad works at night so I spend a lot of time alone since I'm not with my mom. I'm afraid she is going to die and I'll blame myself for not being there more. more...


    HT - 13 years old

    She has been so strong about this and is keen to put it all behind her.  more...


Chemotherapy (often called chemo) is treatment with drugs that are given to kill or control cancer cells.

Chemotherapy drugs are designed to kill any cells that are growing fast because that’s what cancer cells do, - they divide and grow much faster than they normally should do. However, some of our normal healthy cells also grow fast and they can be damaged by the chemotherapy because the chemo drug mistakes them for cancer cells and tries to kill them too. This is why people often have side effects when they receive chemo because the strong chemo drugs damage normal cells that grow fast. For example hair cells grow fast and therefore people often lose their hair during chemotherapy.

The way chemotherapy affects the body varies a lot depending on what particular drug it is, the strength of the dose and also people may react differently to the drugs. Sometimes the side effects can be quite bad and other times they are not that troublesome. In most cases the side effects will disappear sometime after the chemo treatment has ended.

There are many types of chemotherapies and they are used in many different ways. The type of chemotherapy a person gets will depend on the cancer they have and what the chemotherapy is meant to do. Sometimes chemotherapy is used to get rid of the whole cancer to try and cure the person. Other times, a person might have chemotherapy to make a tumour smaller before they have surgery to remove it or chemo can be given to help kill any cancer cells that may be left in the body after surgery or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy can also be used to shrink a tumour to relieve symptoms such as pain or blockages that may be caused by cancer.

Chemotherapy can be given in many different forms (tablets, liquids, injections) but most often drugs are given directly into the blood through a tube put into a vein (this is called intravenous). Chemotherapy may be given once a day, one a week, once a month – depending on the type of cancer and type of chemo drug. Because chemotherapy kills cells in the body and can make people feel tired and poorly, it is usually given in cycles with breaks in-between to give the body time to rebuild healthy cells between the treatment cycles. People can usually stay at home when they have chemotherapy but this isn’t always possible.

To help you find out more, we have linked to Maggie’s CancerLinks where you will be signposted to high quality information about chemotherapy.

Please get in touch with us if you have any worries or questions about cancer and treatments.

Page updated 17 July 2017