Cochise Oncology

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How Long Does Chemo Take to Shrink a Tumor?

More than 1.8 million people in the United States receive a cancer diagnosis every year. Many of these patients will undergo chemotherapy to shrink tumors and stop cancer cells from dividing. If your oncologist has recommended chemo, you may wonder how long it will take. The answer is different for everyone. 

What is Chemo?

Cancer cells divide faster than normal cells. Chemotherapy targets cancer by stopping the growth of rapidly dividing cells. This prevents cancer cells from dividing and can also affect fast cell turnover areas like your hair, nails, and digestive system.

More advanced forms of chemotherapy available today cause fewer unpleasant side effects and let your oncologist effectively target your specific type of cancer. In some cases, chemo can get rid of cancer altogether. In other instances, chemo can shrink tumors to relieve symptoms and slow cancer growth. 

Chemotherapy Tucson

How Long Does Chemo Take to Shrink a Tumor?

Because there are so many types of cancer and types of chemotherapy, this question has no definitive answer. Every tumor responds differently to chemotherapy. How long your chemo takes to shrink your tumor depends on many factors, including:

  • Age, height, and weight
  • Type and stage of cancer
  • Chemotherapy agents used
  • Other medical conditions
  • How well you can tolerate side effects
  • How effectively the chemo works

Some tumors can shrink after just one session of chemo. Others may take multiple sessions to see any results. Sometimes one type of chemotherapy will not work to shrink your tumor. If this happens, your oncologist may switch you to a different kind of chemo. 

You will often receive chemo in sessions where you have treatment for several weeks, followed by a few weeks off before resuming. Your tumor may start to shrink after one round, but it can also take months. Your oncologist will have a personal discussion with you about how long they think results might take. 


Simply fill out the form on this page to request an appointment and one of our knowledgable team members will reach out to you. Or call our Sierra Vista oncology center to schedule directly at (520) 803-6644.

What Will Getting Chemo Be Like? 

You can receive chemo in several ways. Many people are familiar with IV chemotherapy, where the patient stays in the facility for up to a few hours to have chemo infused into a vein. Some types of chemotherapy come in a pill form that you can take orally, letting you have your chemo without leaving home. 

Your oncologist will determine what kind of chemo may work for your tumor and monitor your progress. If the tumor does not respond in the timeline your oncologist expects, they may change your treatment to include other drugs. The chemo you get will be different depending on your type of cancer and its location. 


*Individual Results May Vary


At Cochise Oncology, we know optimal cancer treatment places the patient first – and our patients experience this every day. Read what our satisfied patients are saying about their experiences at Cochise Oncology.

Take the Next Step

Do you have questions about how chemo works? Reach out to Cochise Oncology at (520) 803-6644 or fill out the consultation form on this page.

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