Different groups of chemotherapy medications work in different ways to fight cancer cells. Often, a combination of medications is used to fight a specific cancer. Certain chemotherapy medications may be given in a specific order, depending on the type of cancer they are being used to treat.
These are some of the more common chemotherapy medications, how they are administered and what cancers they treat.
- Carboplatin (Paraplatin®): Usually given intravenously to treat cancers of the ovary and lung
- Cisplatin (Platinol®): Usually given intravenously for cancers of the bladder, ovary, lung and testicles
- Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®): May be given intravenously or orally, and used mainly for lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma, breast cancer and ovarian carcinoma
- Docetaxel (Taxotere®): Given intravenously to treat breast, lung, stomach, head and neck and prostate cancers
- Doxorubicin (Adriamycin®, Rubex®): Given intravenously for treatment of breast, endometrium, lung and ovarian cancers, lymphoma, leukemia and multiple myeloma
- Etoposide (VePesid®, VP-16®): May be given intravenously or orally, and used mainly for cancers of the lung and testicles
- Fluorouracil (5-FU®): Given intravenously, or as a cream to treat skin cancers, and used mainly for cancers of the colon, rectum, head and neck
- Gemcitabine (Gemzar®): Given intravenously to treat cancers of the pancreas, breast, ovary and lung
- Methotrexate (Folex®, Mexate®, MTX®): May be given intravenously, injected into the spinal column, as a shot into a muscle or orally to treat cancers of the breast, lung, head and neck, blood, bone and lymph system
- Paclitaxel (Taxol®): Given intravenously and used mainly for cancers of the breast, ovary and lung
- Vinblastine (Velban®, Velbe®, Velsar®): Given intravenously to treat lymphoma and cancers of the testis, breast, head and neck
- Vincristine (Oncovin®, Vincasar PFS®, Vincrex®, Vincristine Sulfate, VCR®): Given intravenously for treatment of leukemia, lymphoma and childhood cancers