Different Ways You Can Get Chemotherapy for Leukemia
Your doctor has several options for how to give you these chemotherapy drugs.
Intravenous (IV) injection or drip. You may receive an injection into a vein by an IV drip. In that case, medicine in a bag drips through a tube into your vein. It goes through a needle that’s taped to your skin or into a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) that is placed into a large vein (usually in the upper chest) during a minor operation.
Oral. You swallow these drugs as pills.
Injection. You receive these drugs by a needle injected into your muscle or under your skin.
Intrathecal. You receive these drugs into the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid). The drug can be injected into the spinal canal or into a catheter that is placed under the scalp during a minor operation.
You take chemotherapy in cycles. This reduces the damage to healthy cells and allows the drugs to kill more cancer cells. It also gives you a break between treatments. Your doctor will decide if you need to get it daily, weekly, every few weeks, or monthly.
Treatment for acute leukemia is usually started in the hospital. Treatment for chronic leukemia may be started in the hospital or in an outpatient setting. This might be a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office. You will be watched during your treatment to make sure you don’t have a reaction. Some types of treatment last a while. So you may want to take along something that is comforting to you, such as music to listen to. You might also want to stay busy with a deck of cards, book, or crossword puzzle. If you are staying in the hospital, you may not want to bring anything valuable with you.