Chemotherapy can be a single drug, or a combination of drugs used to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells throughout the body by preventing their ability to divide and reproduce.
It can be used alone to treat cancer, and in some cases, it is used in combination with surgery or radiation treatments.
With certain cancers, the chemotherapy may be given as a treatment prior to surgery, in an effort to shrink a tumor’s mass. This is known as neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. When it is given after surgery, to kill any remaining cancer cells in the body, it is called adjuvant chemotherapy. It can be used to delay the progression or prevent the recurrence of cancer.
With advanced-stage cancers, palliative chemotherapy may be given to slow the progression of the cancer’s growth. It may also be used to reduce symptoms to help improve a patient’s quality of life.