Chemotherapy is the use of powerful drugs to kill cancer cells. It can be used as the primary therapy for cancer patients or may be used in combination with other therapies such as surgery and radiation. Anti-cancer drugs are given to patients either intravenously (injected into a vein), by mouth, or by injection. The drugs kill or cause damage to cancer cells, but may also damage normal cells. Hospitalization may be needed to monitor treatment and to control chemotherapy’s side effects. Common side effects of chemotherapy depend on the type of drug used, the dosage, and the length of treatment, and may include: nausea and vomiting, hair loss, anemia, reduced ability of blood to clot, mouth sores, increased likelihood of developing infections, and fatigue. Most side effects disappear once treatment is stopped. Chemotherapy destroys cancer cells by keeping them from growing and multiplying. Nearby healthy cells can be harmed by anti-cancer drugs – that is what causes side effects. Chemotherapy treatments are often given in cycles: a treatment period, followed by a recovery period, followed by another treatment period. Depending on the drug, chemotherapy may be given at home, a hospital outpatient facility, a physician’s office/clinic, or in a hospital.
UAB Medicine Infusion Therapy is part of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, and it is the largest infusion therapy center in Alabama. We are also the only Magnet-designated infusion therapy center in the state. Magnet status is the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) most prestigious distinction for superior nursing practices and outcomes. Our center was built with you in mind: Physicians, architects, and designers worked together to anticipate your needs.