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Intravenous Chemotherapy


Intravenous (IV) chemotherapy (chemo) is one way to receive cancer-fighting medicine. An IV catheter may be placed in a large vein in your arm or upper chest. It is used to give the medicine into your blood. Some IV catheters can stay in place for many months to years.


  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Blood tests: Your healthcare provider will use these tests to check your blood cell count. You may need regular blood tests to make sure organs, such as your liver and kidneys, are working correctly. Blood tests may also show if you have an infection in your blood.
  • Chest x-ray: This is a picture of your lungs and heart. Healthcare providers may use these to take pictures of your cancer.


  • The medicine may leak from your IV. This could permanently harm your skin, vein, or the inside of your body. You could also develop an infection of your catheter or the vein where the catheter is placed. You may have an allergic reaction to the catheter and it will need to be removed. The catheter could move out of the right position, or come out completely. You may also develop blood clots from the catheter.
  • You may get a new cancer. With or without treatment, the cancer may spread and be life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.