Chemotherapy is the term used to describe drugs used to treat cancer. It has been used for many years and is one of the most common cancer treatments.
Chemotherapy (“chemo” for short) works best on rapidly dividing cells, which is why it is effective on cancer tissue, because cancer cells grow and divide rapidly. However, chemo may also be harmful to normal tissue. In fact, some types of chemo are highly toxic to specific organs. Errors in chemotherapy administration can be life threatening.
A study reviewing over 10,000 medication orders was published in the journal Cancer (December, 2005; 104(11): 2477-2483). Study authors found a relatively low chemotherapy error rate of 3 percent. Other chemotherapy infusion centers may have higher or lower error rates. Chemotherapy management protocols (evidence-based formal plans for managing a disease or condition), however, can help to decrease preventable errors by using the latest medical research.
Chemotherapy management protocols offer hospitals the most up-to-date information for helping patients to achieve optimal health during chemotherapy.