Questions and Answers About Chemotherapy
Things to know about getting chemotherapy through an IV continued...
IV chemotherapy is often given through catheters or ports, sometimes with
the help of a pump.
Catheters. A catheter is a soft, thin tube. A surgeon
places one end of the catheter in a large vein, often in your chest area. The
other end of the catheter stays outside your body. Most catheters stay in place
until all your chemotherapy treatments are done. Catheters can also be used for
drugs other than chemotherapy and to draw blood. Be sure to watch for signs of
infection around your catheter.
Ports. A port is a small, round disc made of plastic or
metal that is placed under your skin. A catheter connects the port to a large
vein, most often in your chest. Your nurse can insert a needle into your port
to give you chemotherapy or draw blood. This needle can be left in place for
chemotherapy treatments that are given for more than 1 day. Be sure to watch
for signs of infection around your port.
Pumps. Pumps are often attached to catheters or ports.
They control how much and how fast chemotherapy goes into a catheter or port.
Pumps can be internal or external. External pumps remain outside your body.
Most people can carry these pumps with them. Internal pumps are placed under
your skin during surgery.
How will I feel during chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy affects people in different ways. How you feel depends on how
healthy you are before treatment, your type of cancer, how advanced it is, the
kind of chemotherapy you are getting, and the dose. Doctors and nurses cannot
know for certain how you will feel during chemotherapy.
Some people do not feel well right after chemotherapy. The most common side
effect is fatigue, feeling exhausted and
worn out. You can prepare for fatigue by:
- Asking someone to drive you to and from chemotherapy
- Planning time to rest on the day of and day after chemotherapy
- Getting help with meals and childcare the day of and at least 1 day after
There are many ways you can help manage chemotherapy side effects.