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.