We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are Chemotherapy Cycles?

By Misty Wiser
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The term chemotherapy cycles is used to describe the schedule of treatments an oncologist prescribes to treat cancer. Each cycle depends on the type of cancer a person is diagnosed with and the success of any previous chemotherapy treatments. Chemotherapy may be given as a single medication or as an alternating pattern of multiple chemotherapy drugs. Normally, each chemotherapy cycle includes the actual administration of the medicine, and then a rest and recovery period. This pattern is usually repeated four to six times for an average chemotherapy cycle.

Chemotherapy cycles are determined in part by the medication being used to treat the specific cancer the person is fighting. Most doctors recommend chemotherapy cycles based on the evidence collected during the clinical trials for the drug. Chemo cycles are often scheduled based on the effectiveness of the medication against the cancer during specific times of cancer cell development. Some chemo drugs can be more toxic than others, causing a need for additional time for the patient to recover before the next round can begin.

A few of these medicines are prescribed daily and others may only be given once a week. Many people receive chemotherapy on an outpatient basis. Advanced or especially aggressive types of cancer may need to be treated on an inpatient basis to be effective against the cancer.

Chemotherapy medication is administered in several different ways. The method used to give the chemotherapy drugs factors into the amount of time each session lasts. Chemo may take from a few minutes on up to several hours to deliver correctly.

Most commonly, the medications are given through an intravenous (IV) line or orally in pill form. Some types of chemo drugs need to be injected into a large muscle (IM), body cavity, or spinal cord. Patients that are expected to undergo many months of chemotherapy cycles may elect to have a venous access device (VAD) inserted to reduce the amount of needle punctures needed during treatment. The VAD may also be used to administer liquid nutrition or withdraw blood for testing.

Each chemotherapy session may be repeated weekly or monthly, according to the stage of the cancer being treated. The chemotherapy cycles may continue for as long as a year depending on the type of cancer. After diagnostic tests have shown the cancer to be nonexistent, the oncologist will likely recommend cycles of chemo to continue for one to two more sessions. If the tumors have shrunk, but have not disappeared, most doctors will recommend continuing the same chemotherapy medications until the cancer has been eliminated.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.