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Last Modified: November 1, 2001
Today, physicians know more than ever about the successful treatment of cancer. Among the arsenal of strong weapons doctors use to beat the disease is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancer. Chemotherapy works by seeking out and attacking fast-growing cells. Often, several different drugs are used in combination. Each drug in a combination treatment has a specific role, killing cancer cells by different mechanisms. Treatment is usually given in cycles, with periods of rest to give the body time to regain strength and replace healthy cells that might have been lost during treatment. Supporting these powerful cancer-fighting drugs are medications designed to ease the discomfort and reduce the dangers of chemotherapy's side effects.
One of the serious possible side effects is infection. It can delay and possibly reduce your chemotherapy's effectiveness. But there is a defense against infectionand it's up to you to take control.