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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.


Dr Shana Kelley An ultrasensitive blood test for cancer

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The Canadian Cancer Society’s Cancer Information Service (CIS) is Canada’s only national, bilingual, toll-free service that offers personalized comprehensive cancer information in over 100 languages.

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