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Advantages and disadvantages of chemotherapy

If you’re offered chemotherapy talk to your doctor and nurse about the advantages and disadvantages. We have listed possible questions to ask your doctor or nurse which you may find helpful. 


  • Chemotherapy may shrink your cancer or slow down its growth, which can help you live longer and feel better.
  • After surgery, chemotherapy may reduce the chances of the cancer coming back.
  • You may have more regular check-ups, tests and contact with your medical team. Some people find this reassuring.
  • For a small number of people with borderline resectable cancer, chemotherapy may shrink the cancer enough to make surgery to remove the cancer an option.


  • Chemotherapy can cause side effects.
  • You will need to go to the hospital often for treatment, which can be tiring.
  • It affects everyone differently, and may not work so well for everyone.

More chemotherapy information

Published May 2017

Review date May 2019

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