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Does Chemotherapy Hurt?


Updated August 26, 2010

Question: Does Chemotherapy Hurt?
I am about to start intravenous chemotherapy in a few days and was wondering if chemotherapy is painful?
Answer: The only pain you should feel during an intravenous (IV) chemotherapy session is discomfort from the needle stick that delivers the medication to the bloodstream though a catheter.

If you are feeling any discomfort or sensations such as burning, cooling, or anything unusual where the IV was started, notify your oncology nurse or doctor immediately. Many patients do report feeling a cold or slight burning sensation once the medication enters the vein. This feeling varies depending on the chemotherapy drug prescribed. But it is still important to let your nurse or doctor know is you are feeling this sensation.

If you experience any unusual sensations at the IV site after your chemotherapy session has ended, call your doctor.

Sources: "Does Chemotherapy Hurt?" 22 June 2006. American Cancer Society. 15 Mar 2007.

"Chemotherapy and You: A Guide to Self-Help During Cancer Treatment." 01 June 1999. National Cancer Institute. 15 Mar 2007.

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