Prostate Cancer: What Is Chemotherapy?

Health Monitor Staff
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Chemotherapy drugs target and destroy prostate cancer cells. Although they are usually injected into a vein, some can be taken in pill form. Once these drugs enter the bloodstream, they spread throughout the body and can destroy prostate cancer cells wherever they find them. Chemo is given in cycles, with each period of treatment followed by a period of rest so your body has time to recover. Each treatment-and-rest cycle typically lasts several weeks.

It might be right for you if:

Your cancer has spread and hormone therapy has stopped working.

What you should know:

You probably know chemo can cause side effects, such as fatigue, nausea, hair loss, dry skin, nail changes, appetite loss and so on. However, you may be less aware that it can also cause anemia, low platelets and neutropenia, a drop in levels of white blood cells, the body’s main infection fighters. Neutropenia is a problem because it can make you vulnerable to infection. Not only can that interfere with your chemotherapy schedule, it can also lead to life-threatening problems. Fortunately, many of these side effects can be prevented or treated and most subside after treatment ends. It’s important to discuss any symptoms or concerns during your visit.

For more info on undergoing chemotherapy, visit

May 2013