Chemotherapy, or "chemical treatment," has been around since the days of the ancient Greeks. However, chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer began in the 1940s with the use of nitrogen mustard. Since then, in the attempt to discover what is effective in chemotherapy, many new drugs have been developed and tried.
Sometimes referred to simply as "chemo", chemotherapy is used most often to describe drugs that kill cancer cells directly. These are sometimes referred to as "anti-cancer" drugs or "antineoplastics." Other chemo drugs such as biologic response modifiers, hormone therapy, and monoclonal antibodies, which work in different ways to treat cancer, are included in this web-site. Today's therapy uses more than 100 drugs to treat cancer. There are even more chemo drugs still under development and investigation.
Since cancer is a word used to describe many different diseases, there is no one type of treatment that is used universally. Chemotherapy is used for a variety of purposes:
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