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Preparing for Chemotherapy — Planning Your Time and Getting Set

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By Jerry Walters - - 5 Mins Read
Chemotherapy, shortly known as chemo, is a treatment used to treat those suffering from cancer. Chemotherapy drugs stop cancer growth in other body parts and cure those already in body cells.    To learn more about this type of cancer treatment, you need to know how long it takes for chemo treatment and its side effects. Chemotherapy drugs aren't just assigned at once; they are given at intervals or cycles until the treatment is completed.    The duration of one cycle while using chemotherapy depends on many factors. One is the type of cancer the patient is treating, followed by the cancer stage, and then the chemotherapy treatment administered. In this article, you will learn everything you need about chemotherapy, how long it takes for the whole treatment and chemotherapy side effects after the treatment. 

How Long Does Chemotherapy Take? 

Even for those who are not treating cancer, the most common question people ask is how long chemotherapy treatment takes. Chemotherapy treatment is divided into courses and cycles. Each course of chemotherapy treatment can last between 3 to 6 months, while each cycle of a chemo treatment lasts between 2 to 6 weeks.    Within each cycle of chemo treatment, multiple treatment sessions depend on the doctor's recommendations. Within each cycle, you might receive treatment once a day, week, or month.    How often a patient receives a treatment depends on the intravenous (IV) chemo a doctor uses. If the doctor uses an injection, it delivers the chemo treatment within minutes. If the doctor uses an IV infusion, it takes minutes to hours. Lastly, if the doctor is using continuous infusion, it takes days to weeks.    Oral and topical chemotherapy is another form of chemotherapy treatment, but it is less time-consuming than other chemo treatments. Those who are suffering from cancer can even administer the treatment themselves. The patient can take the drug as a pill, capsule, or liquid for oral chemotherapy. For topical chemotherapy, those using this type of treatment usually receive them in the form of gel or ointment on their skin. 

How Do You Prepare for Chemotherapy? 

[caption id="attachment_19004" align="aligncenter" width="2560"]A cancer patient receiving instructions from doctors at the hospital Credit: National Cancer Institute[/caption] If you take chemotherapy treatment, your doctor will let you know how long you will spend receiving the treatment. You should know what you need to pack depending on how long the doctor recommends. But generally, here are some things you must remember when packing up for chemotherapy treatment.   
  • Music 

Music will be very important during your chemotherapy treatment, especially music that will lift your soul from the pains you might be going through.   
  • Reading Materials 

Many people are lost in the other world while reading an interesting story. In other words, they might not even feel their current pain whenever they are reading a book that interests them. Some book suggestions you might have to pack when going for a chemo treatment are big novels, interesting magazines, and any reading material that lifts your spirits.   
  • Games 

Talking about games, many people prefer to play digital games over physical ones and vice versa. Some even prefer to play the two, depending on what they want. It is left to find a game that interests you and will put your mind away from the pains you might be feeling. For guys, you might prefer to play digital games such as Call of Duty and others. Ladies might prefer to play less intensive games like Candy Crush Saga.   
  • Bring a Journal 

Writing one's thoughts on paper can be very therapeutic for many, and it helps relieve stress. So while packing for your treatment, you may consider bringing a journal.   
  • Clothes and Blankets 

You must also consider bringing comfortable clothes and sleeping materials like blankets and pillows. Snacks and water bottles should also be part of your luggage.   

Chemotherapy Side Effects 

There are specific side effects that one might suffer from chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs can have certain side effects on your reproductive system, skin, digestive tract, and many other body parts.    Speaking with your doctor about managing such side effects would be best.