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Chemotherapy Treatment for Blood Cancers

What Is Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a type of medical oncology that involves the periodic administration of anti-cancer drugs, often over the course of several months.

You may have chemo treatment on an outpatient or inpatient basis, depending on your blood cancer diagnosis. If your symptoms or side effects of treatment become hard to manage, you may need a short stay in the hospital.

Doctors use chemotherapy to both treat cancer and relieve cancer symptoms, such as shrinking tumors that cause pain.

At UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, we offer a full range of chemo treatment options for all types and stages of blood cancer.

Our relationship with the University of Pittsburgh allows us to offer you clinical trials of breakthrough blood cancer treatments. Many times, you won't find these treatments anywhere else.

Taking part in clinical trials is a vital part of cancer treatment. We integrate them into each patient's plan of care when pertinent.

The medical oncologists at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center work closely with radiation oncologists to:

  • Decide if your treatment plan should combine both approaches.
  • Time your treatments in a way that will maximize positive results.
  • Provide the most appropriate treatments for your type of blood cancer.

Types of Chemotherapy for Blood Cancer

At UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, we specially tailor your chemo treatment program to your personal:

  • Disease state
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Goals
  • Prognosis

Your treatment team will choose from a wide variety of chemotherapy drugs to target your specific cancer.

Receiving Chemotherapy for Blood Cancer

Depending on the type and stage of your blood cancer, you'll receive chemotherapy by mouth or injection.

You'll usually have chemo in cycles — a treatment period followed by rest periods. This allows your body to recover and build up strength.

Doctors often use chemo along with radiation therapy and steroids to treat blood cancer.

In some cases, we combine chemotherapy with a stem cell transplant, which replaces the blood-forming cells that chemo drugs destroy.

Chemotherapy side effects

Side effects vary with the type of chemo treatment.

Fatigue is the most common symptom. Nausea and hair loss may also occur.

Your care team will address any side effects as they appear.

Contact Us About Chemo for Blood Cancer

To reach the Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, call 412-864-6600.