What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a combination of drugs given to destroy your cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be given before or after surgery and with or without radiation therapy depending on your disease. The desired result varies depending on the diagnosis. It can be to cure cancer, prolong survival or improve quality of life. Most chemotherapy drugs are given more than once to the same patient and can be given either intravenously, intraperitoneally, or as tablets to be taken by mouth. The frequency of administration varies depending on the chemotherapy.

therapy Treatment with drugs that block the hormone that is involved in the growth of cancer. These are tablets to be taken by mouth.
Example: Novaldex ® (tamoxifen), Megace ® (megestrol), Provera ® (medroxyprogesterone)

chemotherapy Chemotherapy administered between the peritoneum and the organs.
Example: Platinol ® (cisplatin)

Main chemotherapy treatments

Your chemotherapy consists of one or more drugs. Your doctor will decide which chemotherapy is best for you based on your diagnosis and general condition.
Names of the main drugs used in gynecologic oncology:

  • Adriamycin ® (doxorubicin)
  • Alkeran ® (melphalan)
  • Blenoxane ® (bleomycin)
  • Caelyx ® (liposomal doxorubicin)
  • Cosmegen ® (dactinomycin)
  • Cytoxan ® (cyclophosphamide)
  • Efudex ® (5-FU or fluorouracil)
  • Gemzar ® (gemcitabine)
  • Hycamtin ® (topotecan)
  • Ifex ® (ifosfamide)
  • Methotrexate
  • Mutamycin ® (mitomycin)
  • Paraplatin ® (carboplatin)
  • Platinol ®(cisplatin)
  • Taxol ® (paclitaxel)
  • Taxotere ® (docetaxel)
  • VePesid ® (etoposide)

Examples of frequently prescribed chemotherapy combinations:

  • Paclitaxel and carboplatin
  • Cisplatin and 5-FU
  • Cisplatin and cyclophosphamide
  • Bleomycin, cisplatin, etoposide (BEP)