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Chemotherapy With a Team You Can Trust

Our nurses and physicians understand the strength and courage it takes to go through chemotherapy. That’s why we’re here to face it with you, standing by your side through the process and supporting you with effective medication and nutritional advice, and encouraging you to keep your spirits high. Together, we’re greater than cancer.

Understanding Chemotherapy Treatment

What is Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy (commonly shortened to chemo) is a type of cancer treatment that uses a combination of drugs to destroy cancer cells by interfering with cell division. Depending on your type of cancer and overall health, chemotherapy may be the only treatment you need. More often than not, your oncology team will combine it with other treatment options, such as surgery, radiation, or immunotherapy. For example, chemotherapy can help shrink a tumor before surgery or destroy remaining cancer cells after surgery or radiation therapy.

Depending on your type of cancer and advancement, chemotherapy can:

  • Cure cancer by destroying cancer cells
  • Control cancer by keeping it from spreading, slowing its growth, or destroying cancer cells that have spread to other parts of your body
  • Ease cancer symptoms (also called palliative care) by shrinking tumors that are causing pain or pressure

 

How Chemotherapy Works

Today, more than 175 chemotherapy drugs are used to treat cancer. Here’s how it works: Your body is constantly producing new cells, and in turn, those cells are continuously dividing. As cells divide, your body has built-in “checkpoints” to make sure they grow and divide in regulated ways. In cancer cells, these checkpoints fail to work, causing cancer cells to grow out of control. Chemotherapy drugs work by disrupting this process at different stages of development and division. Each chemotherapy drug has its own specific composition, effectiveness in treating specific forms of cancer, and side effects.

Your doctor will decide which combination of chemotherapy drugs to use based on:

  • Your type of cancer
  • Whether you have had chemotherapy before
  • Whether you have other health problems, such as diabetes or heart disease
Receiving Chemotherapy Treatment

Whether you’re receiving chemotherapy at one of our comfortable outpatient infusion centers or one of our physician centers, our nurses will be there to greet you and guide you and your support person throughout each treatment visit.

Depending on the type of chemotherapy you’re receiving, it may be administered in one of the following ways:

  • Oral chemotherapy is delivered in the form of pills, capsules, or liquids.
  • Topical chemotherapy is delivered as a cream that you rub onto your skin.
  • Intravenous chemotherapy is delivered directly into a vein.
  • Intra-peritoneal (IP) therapy delivers chemo directly into the peritoneal cavity (the area that contains organs such as your intestines, stomach, liver, and ovaries).
  • Intra-arterial (IA) chemotherapy delivers medication directly into the artery that is feeding the cancer.
  • Injected chemotherapy can be delivered directly into your arm, thigh, or hip or right under the skin in your arm, leg, or belly.

What to Expect During Chemotherapy Treatment

Whether you’re receiving chemotherapy at one of our four peaceful infusion centers or one of our physician centers, your nurse will be there to greet you and guide you and your support person throughout each treatment visit. Our peaceful treatment areas have comfortable reclining chairs and warm blankets. Bring snacks, electronic tablets, books, or knitting ‒- or invite a friend or family member to pass the time with you and drive you home.

Sessions vary from an hour to a whole day, but we’ll always tell you what to expect, who to call, and how to care for yourself following a treatment. Know that we take every possible measure to reduce side effects.

A nurse navigator smiles as she speaks with a patient who lying in bed about Florida Hospital's advanced chemotherapy program

Personalized Patient Navigation

You’ll always feel empowered and prepared. Day after day, our compassionate and knowledgeable Nurse Navigators will coordinate your appointments, talk you through every treatment option, and more. We’ll make sure you’re always supported.

Meet Your Nurse Navigator

News and Events

There’s something new to celebrate every day at the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute, whether it’s a groundbreaking clinical trial, an inspiring patient story, or an upcoming community event.

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Treatments Beyond Chemotherapy

A cancer treatment patient discusses Florida Hospital Cancer Institute's cutting edge radiation therapy options with a nurse navigator

Radiation

Non-invasive radiation therapy may be part of your treatment plan, depending on your type of cancer. This safe, proven treatment may be prescribed before or after chemotherapy or surgery.

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Two surgical oncologists perform one of the latest and most innovative surgical procedures for cancer in an operating room

Surgery

You may undergo chemotherapy before surgery to shrink tumors and shorten recovery time. Our surgeons use many of the latest technology and have robotic techniques to make surgery quicker and less invasive than ever.

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An immotherapist reviews a cancer patient's imaging scans on a tablet

Immunotherapy

Training your body’s immune system to destroy harmful cells is a new, and effective, strategy for many cancers. Your doctor may prescribe immunotherapy drugs during or after chemotherapy.

Learn More