• Chemotherapy is a term used to describe the treatment of cancer with drugs.
  • Chemotherapy can be given orally, by injection into a vein or an artery, below the skin, into a muscle, into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord and brain, or into the space surrounding your lungs.
  • Cancer cells usually grow more rapidly than normal cells and chemotherapy works by interfering with the growth and reproduction of these cells. Unfortunately, some normal cells also grow rapidly and can be killed by chemotherapy. These normal cells include those found in the bone marrow, mouth, stomach, intestines, hair follicles, and reproductive cells (sperm and egg).
  • Some of the side effects from chemotherapy are the direct result of the anti-cancer drugs on these cells. It is important to remember that chemotherapy produces side-effects in some, but not all patients. Each anti-cancer drug can produce different side effects and these may not be the same in all patients. At times certain odors and environments, i.e., coming in to the clinic may trigger nausea. It is important to remember that most side effects can be managed and severe side effects are uncommon.

The following points can help protect you from complications:

  • Notify your physician if you have a fever above 100.5 degrees F.
  • Notify your physician if you have any unusual bruising or bleeding.
  • Notify your physician if you have any unusual dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, excessive fatigue.
  • Notify your physician if you have persistent nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation lasting more than 48 hours after treatment.
  • Notify your physician if you have persistent mouth sores, ulceration, or painful swallowing. Check with your physician before having any dental procedures performed.
  • Avoid people with obvious illnesses (colds, coughs, flu, etc.).
  • Do not hold or change diapers of children for 6 weeks after the child has received oral polio vaccine (given as drops).
  • Remember, if you feel tired, take frequent rest periods before and following chemotherapy appointments.

Our Doctors

Abraham Schwarzberg, MD
Abraham Schwarzberg, MD, formerly a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and staff physician at Massachusetts General Hospital’s department of medical oncology, has an ongoing commitment to academic medicine and clinical research. Read more…
Talya Schwarzberg, MD
Talya Schwarzberg, MD, is a former clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and staff physician at Massachusetts General Hospital’s department of medical oncology. She received her medical oncology and hematology training Read more…
Raymond Tsao, MD
Before joining the Cancer Center of South Florida, Raymond Tsao, MD, served as an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, where his duties included cancer care, medical education and enrolling patients in clinical trials. Read more…
Sujal Shah, MD
Sujal Shah, MD is a former assistant professor of medicine at the University of Texas at Austin and an associate instructor of clinical medicine at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire. Read more…
Vijay Narendran, MD, MBA
Dr. Vijay Narendran, MD, MBA, trained in internal medicine at University Hospitals Case Western Reserve University and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center in Cleveland. Dr. Narendran continued his graduate medical studies at New York University School of Medicine Read more…
Mayer Fishman, MD, PHD
Mayer Fishman, MD, PhD, has more than 20 years of experience in medical oncology, specializing in urologic oncology. With a focus on creating longitudinal plans for patient care, Dr. Fishman utilizes emerging therapies Read more…
John R. Pawloski, MD, PHD
Dr. John Pawloski is a hematologist oncologist at Tampa General Hospital who specializes in stem cell transplant. Prior to joining Tampa General, he was the program director of cellular therapy at the University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health/St. Joseph Hospital Read more…
Eduardo M. Sotomayor, MD
Dr. Sotomayor is the director of the newly established Cancer Institute at Tampa General Hospital. He is a pioneer in the field of cancer immunology and immunotherapy and an internationally renowned expert in lymphoma research and treatment. Read more…
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