The term chemotherapy refers to the administration of specific medication, either as an infusion or in tablet form, which is designed to destroy the cancer cells in the body.
Some types of cancer are mainly treated with chemotherapy, such as leukaemia and lymphomas. For other types of cancer, chemotherapy is used after an operation and/or radiation therapy. In such instances, it is used to kill any remaining tumour cells that may still be in the body.
However chemotherapy may also be used before an operation. In that case, the aim is to reduce the size of the tumour and improve the likelihood of the operation being a success. If there is no longer any chance of completely removing the cancer, then chemotherapy can be used to alleviate patients’ symptoms and improve their quality of life.