Cancer Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy (sometimes cancer chemotherapy) is the treatment of cancer with an antineoplastic drug or with a combination of such drugs into a standardized treatment regimen.

Most commonly, chemotherapy acts by killing cells that divide rapidly, one of the main properties of most cancer cells. This means that it also harms cells that divide rapidly under normal circumstances: cells in the bone marrow, digestive tract and hair follicles. This results in the most common side effects of chemotherapy: myelosuppression (decreased production of blood cells, hence also immunosuppression), mucositis (inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract), and alopecia (hair loss).

Newer anticancer drugs act directly against abnormal proteins in cancer cells; this is termed targeted therapy and is technically not chemotherapy.