Canadian Cancer Society logo
You are here: 


Chemotherapy (sometimes called chemo) uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. Some chemotherapy drugs are given on their own. But more often, several chemotherapy drugs are given together. Chemotherapy may also be given together with other drug treatments, such as biological therapy.

Today, there are many different kinds of chemotherapy and combinations of chemotherapy drugs used to treat over 200 different types of cancer. The drugs you get for chemotherapy may be different from the drugs someone else gets. Even if you get the same drugs as someone else, your body may react to them differently. So the way you feel during treatment may be very different from how others feel.

Chemotherapy for children

Both children and their families may have questions and concerns about how chemotherapy is given. Parents and caregivers may also need help coping when a child receives chemotherapy. Sometimes getting chemotherapy can cause children and their families physical or psychological distress. Being prepared and knowing what to expect can reduce anxiety for both children and parents. Parents can prepare children for and help them cope with chemotherapy by explaining what will happen in a way that the child will understand.


Mary Antonenko We all need our own personal support system, but no matter how good your own personal support system is, it’s not the same as connecting with other survivors.

Read Mary's story

Help for smokers trying to quit

Illustration of no smoking symbol

It’s okay to need help to quit smoking. The Canadian Cancer Society is here to support people who are ready to quit and even those people who aren’t ready.

Learn more