Cochise Oncology

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How Long Does Chemotherapy Last?

When you think of chemotherapy, your first thoughts may be about how long it will take and what kind of effect it will have on your life. These questions are understandable, and your Cochise Oncology team will support you throughout treatment and guide you through what to expect. While chemotherapy can have uncomfortable side effects, more advanced methods may let you lead a more active, healthy life while in treatment. 

What is Chemotherapy? 

There are well over 100 types of chemotherapy available, and new ones are added every year. Chemotherapy is a broad term that covers any type of chemical or medication used to treat cancer. While it can work in many different ways, the most common mechanism is to target fast-growing cancer cells by affecting their biology. You may receive chemo as a pill, IV treatment, injection, or other method, depending on your needs and the type of treatment. 

Young Cancer Patient Standing in Front of Hospital Window.

How Long Does Chemotherapy Last?

Because there are so many different types of chemotherapy, it is difficult to estimate how long the process may last. You may receive treatment every day for several days, once every few weeks, or many other schedules. Most people will receive chemo for three to six months. After this time, your treatment team will perform tests to determine whether more treatment is recommended. 


Some cancers take longer to treat than others, so each person has a different chemotherapy experience. While your provider will explain your expected treatment plan, your cancer may respond more quickly or more slowly than anticipated. You may also continue to receive chemo after your cancer is gone to prevent it from recurring. 

What Types of Cancer Does Chemotherapy Treat?

Chemotherapy is widely used for almost any type of cancer. It can be used in combination with radiation therapy or immunotherapy to achieve maximum benefits. Chemotherapy can be used against solid tumors such as liver or lung cancer, and it can also be used against blood cancers such as leukemia or lymphoma. Only a full medical assessment can determine whether chemotherapy will be included in your treatment plan. 

How Does Chemotherapy Work?

Most types of chemotherapy work by interfering with processes that cancer cells use to divide. Because cancer cells divide abnormally fast, these treatments damage them or prevent them from making more cancer cells. Chemotherapy may damage cancer cell DNA so the cells cannot reproduce or may interfere with processes they need to make more cancer cells. 

What are the Side Effects of Chemotherapy?

The side effects of chemotherapy often occur in areas where your own body has fast-dividing cells. This includes your gastrointestinal system, hair follicles, and other areas. Side effects depend on the type of chemo but may include hair loss, nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue. These symptoms typically go away after chemotherapy, although you may have some lasting effects.


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.


*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 chemotherapy? Reach out to Cochise Oncology at (520) 335-9460 or fill out the consultation form on this page.

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