- Cancer Information
- Cancer treatment
- Having chemotherapy
- Other ways of having chemotherapy
Other ways of having chemotherapy
Although chemotherapy is most commonly given through a drip into a vein, there are other ways of having chemotherapy. This will depend on the drugs used and the type of cancer you have.
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Some people are able to take chemotherapy as tablets or capsules at home. Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist will tell you how and when to take them, and how to handle the drugs safely.
Less commonly, chemotherapy can be injected using a needle into different parts of the body:
- into a muscle, usually in your buttock or thigh (intramuscular)
- just under the skin (subcutaneous)
- into the fluid around the spine (intrathecal, also known as a lumbar puncture)
- into an artery (intra-arterial)
- into your abdominal area (intraperitoneal)
- into the outer lining of the lungs (intrapleural)
- into the bladder (intravesical)
- into the tumour (intralesional; this method is rare).
Some skin cancers are treated using a chemotherapy cream applied directly to the skin. This is called topical chemotherapy. See Topical treatments for skin cancer.
Used for primary liver cancer or some types of cancer that have spread to the liver, TACE involves injecting high doses of chemotherapy directly into the liver tumours. At the same time, tiny plastic beads or soft, gelatine sponges are injected to block the blood supply to the tumour (embolisation). See TACE step by step.
Podcast: Making Treatment Decisions
Clinical A/Prof Rosemary Harrup, Director, Cancer and Blood Services, Royal Hobart Hospital, TAS; Katie Benton, Advanced Dietitian, Cancer Care, Sunshine Coast Hospital and Queensland Health, QLD; Gillian Blanchard, Oncology Nurse Practitioner, Calvary Mater Newcastle, NSW; Stacey Burton, Consumer; Dr Fiona Day, Staff Specialist, Medical Oncology, Calvary Mater Newcastle, and Conjoint Senior Lecturer, The University of Newcastle, NSW; Andrew Greig, Consumer; Steve Higgs, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria; Prof Desmond Yip, Clinical Director, Department of Medical Oncology, The Canberra Hospital, ACT.
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