Chemotherapy is a form of treatment using drugs called chemotherapeutic agents that destroy tumour cells. It is a very strong treatment modality and though it acts on cancer cells, some effect on the normal body tissues do occur, leading to side effects.
Common effects are: hair loss, nausea and vomiting, loose motions, weakness and mouth ulcers.
Many of these are preventable or minimized using modern medicines given as a pre-medication before the chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy may be used to shrink tumours before surgery [neoadjuvant], during surgery [perioperative, commonly as intraperitoneal chemotherapy], after surgery [adjuvant], or as the sole treatment usually for advanced cancers, which have spread to other organs [palliative intent].