Chemotherapy is a systemic medication that works to destroy cancer cells to slow or stop them from growing or spreading. "Systemic" means that the drugs circulate throughout the body.

Your care team at Columbia Cancer will work with you to find the best treatment options specific to you. Our world-class researchers are constantly working to find new ways to treat cancer, which means you’ll have access to the latest therapies, including new chemotherapies.

Because it is a systemic medicine, chemotherapy can affect more than just cancer cells. At Columbia Cancer, we provide the support and care you need to not only treat your cancer, but also manage the side effects that can come as a part of chemotherapy. We provide a wide range of supportive care services like integrative therapies and nutrition counseling to help you throughout your care. Your health is very important to us, and you will be closely monitored and cared for at every point during and after your treatment.

Chemotherapy as a Part of Your Treatment

Your care team will work with you to decide on the best treatment or treatments for you. In some cases, chemotherapy may be the only treatment you receive. You may also have chemotherapy as a part of your treatment:

  • Before other treatments like surgery or radiation to shrink the tumor (called neoadjuvant therapy)
  • After other treatments like surgery or radiation to destroy any remaining cancer cells (called adjuvant treatment)
  • Treating cancer that has either spread (metastasized) or come back (recurred)
  • Shrinking your tumor to reduce symptoms, like pain

How Chemotherapy Is Given

There are many different chemotherapy drugs, and depending on the type, they can be given in several different ways:

An infusion, or intravenously. The drugs can be given from a tube with needle in your arm (an IV), or with a device in a vein in your chest (sometimes called a port).

  • A pill or tablet
  • A shot
  • A cream, applied to the skin (most often for skin cancers)
  • Not all chemotherapy drugs have different ways of being taken. Your care team will work with you to find your best options.

Chemotherapy at Columbia Cancer

Chemotherapy can be a major part of your cancer treatment, and can sometimes be overwhelming. At Columbia Cancer, our dedicated team of oncologists, nurses, and other specialists provide expert and compassionate care. We know that coming in for your treatment can be time-consuming and exhausting, so we offer several locations across the Manhattan and Westchester where you might be able to receive your treatment. We designed our supportive care services to give you and your loved ones additional support and care during and after your treatment.

We are also constantly working to find new therapies to treat cancer. We offer a wide range of clinical trials that can give you access to the latest therapies, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, CAR T-cell therapy, and more.