How Does IV Chemotherapy Work?
You and your doctor have three options to administer chemotherapy. In movies and TV shows, cancer patients typically receive chemotherapy through an IV needle with a drip bag. This isn't far from the truth—your doctor might recommend the drip method so a diluted form of the medicine can slowly enter your bloodstream. The doctor might administer the chemotherapy at the facility or give you a pump so you can receive it at home over the course of a few days.
The other option is using a catheter and pump. Your doctor might insert the catheter into your vein and then use the pump to control the amount of medicine that goes into your bloodstream at a time. If you only need a single shot, your doctor might administer chemotherapy to you like a flu shot. This is normally the fastest way to administer chemotherapy.
How Long Does IV Chemotherapy Take?
The length of each treatment session depends on the type of cancer that you have and the amount of chemotherapy that you need. If you only need a small dose of medicine, your session might last only a few minutes. If your doctor wants to slowly introduce the medicine into your bloodstream, you might have to wait a few hours at the facility. In some cases, chemotherapy can take a few days to complete. Your doctor will likely send you home with a mobile pump, so you won't have to stay at the facility for multiple days.
Generally, IV chemotherapy involves multiple sessions over a period of several weeks. Your doctor may recommend more or fewer sessions depending on your situation. Some people complete the entire treatment in as little as one week.
What Are the Side Effects of IV Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy can have side effects such as nausea, drowsiness, and hair loss in addition to other side effects. Your doctor may prescribe medication to counteract these side effects. When you undergo chemotherapy, you might need someone to drive you to and from appointments. Some people experience additional side effects that your doctor may discuss before treatment starts.
If you have terminal cancer, your doctor might prescribe chemotherapy to reduce your pain and make you more comfortable.
Do You Have to Get IV Chemotherapy?
Some people are reluctant to undergo IV chemotherapy because they have a fear of needles. Depending on the type of cancer you have, your doctor might recommend another form of chemotherapy such as a pill or topical medication. However, many doctors prefer IV chemotherapy because it injects the medication directly into your bloodstream. This allows the chemotherapy to start attacking the cancer cells as soon as possible.
What Are Some Other Types of IV Infusions?
As part of your treatment plan, your doctor might suggest IV infusions for other purposes. Through an IV, they might administer vitamins, minerals, water, medications, and anything else you need to stay as healthy as possible during your treatments.
Where Can You Go for High-Quality Cancer Treatment Services?
New Jersey Cancer Care offers state-of-the-art treatments for people who have been diagnosed with cancer. Our services include chemotherapy, blood transfusions, IV infusions, bone marrow biopsies, pain management, nutrition counseling and more. We also have an on-site pharmacy that makes it easy for you to pick up your medications.
During your treatment program, it's important to get accurate updates on your status and prognosis. We offer on-site testing to be sure that you're in the know concerning your current health condition. Our licensed physicians have years of experience in the medical field, so you'll receive some of the best care in New Jersey. Contact us today if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer and is looking for a reputable, on-site cancer care center.