Chemotherapy is used on its own or in combination with other forms of treatment. The strategy is decided by the oncologist depending on what type of cancer is involved and how advanced it is. Depending on how and why it is used, the treatment can be referred to as:
Adjuvant chemotherapy: This is given after surgery to remove a tumour that has taken place and is designed to ensure that leftover cancer cells are destroyed, to eliminate the chance of cancer returning.
Neo-adjuvant: This is chemotherapy that is given to shrink a tumour so that it is easier to operate on and remove it.
In a nutshell, Chemotherapy is used:
• before surgery or radiation therapy to shrink tumours.
• after surgery or radiation therapy to help kill any cancer cells that are left.
• in combination with other treatments if cancer relapses
• when cancer metastasizes to other parts of the body.