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Do You Know What Is Oral Chemotherapy?

Updated On Nov 30, 2020

Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment. It is popularly called chemo. There is a chemotherapy regimen, which is a standardized regimen that involves the use of anti-cancer drugs. Chemotherapy is usually prescribed to patients so as to reduce their symptoms or to help in extending their life.

What is Oral Chemotherapy?

Oral chemotherapy is as the name suggests, an anti-cancer drug that is given through the mouth, through tablets, syrups, or capsules. Its aim is the same as that of the other chemotherapy treatments. This tablet can be prescribed by a licensed medical professional. One’s doctor or nurse practitioner can prescribe this kind of chemotherapy if it is more effective for the patient or if the patient would not be able to endure regular chemotherapy.

Also Read: How to Protect Yourself from Cancer?

Risks of Oral Chemotherapy

Oral chemotherapy has the same benefits as Intravenous (IV) chemotherapy, but both of them have the same risks. These risks can be:

  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Vomiting
  • Appetite loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss.
  • Fatigue

Despite all of these risks, oral chemotherapy presents itself to be an excellent choice and is actually recommended by medical professionals as a good mode of treatment. Oral chemotherapy is gaining popularity as one of the best types of treatment for patients suffering from cancer.

Oral chemotherapy is available in different compositions to take care of multiple types of cancer. For example, Capecitabine for breast cancer, Altretamine for ovarian cancer, etoposide for small cell lung cancer, and Cyclophosphamide for breast, ovarian, multiple myeloma, leukemia, and lymphoma types of cancer. These drugs are usually presented in a combination of drugs to the patient so that they would experience the maximum effect of the medicine but a minimal amount of side effects.

You May Also like to Read: The 3 Most Common Types of Cancer in India

Advantages of Oral Chemotherapy

Oral chemotherapy has two main advantages: It can be taken at home, and it is not invasive. It is available to be consumed at the comfort of one’s home, and there is no need for the patient to go to the hospital or to take the assistance of any medical personnel. They can consume the pill or tablet themselves as per the directions given by the medical professional.

It is not invasive as it does not include any sort of procedures, preparation, or post-procedural precautionary measures. It is easy to consume as it would be just a tablet, taken as directed by one’s doctor.

Things to Remember with Oral Chemotherapy

However, there are a few things that should be noted by the patient. The patient should compulsorily take care of the following guidelines:

1. The frequency of the tablets to be consumed should strictly be followed

2. The medicine should be taken at particular times of the day like after lunch or before lunch as directed

3. The patient should have a fixed time for the consumption of medicine every day and should not be changed

4. The patient should be completely aware of the possible side effects of the drugs and should prepare for them accordingly

5. The patient should be aware of the side effects of forgetting to take their medicine and should be prepared for them.


Oral chemotherapy is an excellent type of chemotherapy, which is highly effective in reducing the symptoms, getting rid of cancer and extending one’s life expectancy. The main advantage of oral chemo is that it can be done from the patient’s home itself. Although it is simpler as compared to regular chemotherapy procedures, it does have some side effects, and the patient should be well informed of these before they start the treatment method. It is also recommended for the patient to have health insurance as treatment is really expensive.

You May Also like to Read: Top 5 Cancer Insurance Plans You can Buy in India

Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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