Origin and Etymology of chemotherapy
International Scientific Vocabulary
First Known Use: 1910
CHEMOTHERAPY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of chemotherapy for English Language Learners
medical : the use of chemicals to treat or control a disease (such as cancer)
Medical Definition of chemotherapy
: the therapeutic use of chemical agents to treat disease <Pyrazinamide is one of the most important drugs in modern chemotherapy of tuberculosis …—Max Salfinger et al., The Journal of the American Medical Association, 22 Mar. 1995>; especially : the administration of one or more cytotoxic drugs to destroy or inhibit the growth and division of malignant cells in the treatment of cancer <Cancer cells mutate at a furious rate, and they can evolve the means to resist most chemotherapy drugs, requiring higher and more toxic doses to achieve an effect.—Shannon Brownlee and Nancy Shute, U.S. News & World Report, 18 May 1998> <Neutropenia and infection are major dose-limiting side effects of chemotherapy.—Jeffrey Crawford et al., The New England Journal of Medicine, 18 July 1991>—called also chemo ◆Chemotherapy may be used alone as a primary treatment or may be used before, after, or in conjunction with surgery or radiation.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up chemotherapy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).