chemotherapy

noun
che·​mo·​ther·​a·​py | \ ˌkē-mō-ˈther-ə-pē How to pronounce chemotherapy (audio) \

Definition of chemotherapy

: the therapeutic use of chemical agents to treat disease 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

Note: Chemotherapy may be used alone as a primary treatment or may be used before, after, or in conjunction with surgery or radiation.

called also chemo

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from chemotherapy

chemotherapist \ ˌkē-​mō-​ˈther-​ə-​pist How to pronounce chemotherapy (audio) \ noun

Examples of chemotherapy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Jones’ journey back was grueling, frustrating, punctuated by trips to receive chemotherapy and achieve remission. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Jones nails game-winner on grand occasion," 9 Jan. 2021 His 9-year-old daughter, Tabby, was diagnosed with leukemia in April and began seven months of intensive chemotherapy. Washington Post, "Here are some good things about this year," 30 Dec. 2020 In March 2019, Nelson was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma and started chemotherapy a month later — after first freezing her eggs. Alexandra Kukulka, chicagotribune.com, "Decades revisited: Graduate student takes leave of absence with the hopes of finishing international program when the pandemic ends," 29 Dec. 2020 Residents who test positive should be isolated for 14 days, with that period extended to 21 days for those who have compromised immune systems or are in chemotherapy. Andy Davis, Arkansas Online, "1-day case rise an all-time high in state at 3,204," 25 Dec. 2020 Dialysis and chemotherapy patients struggled as hospitals got overburdened. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Our familiar habits and rituals changed in 2020—hopefully forever," 23 Dec. 2020 Her parents’ retirement benefits offered some help, but hospital bills began adding up: the $759 consultation, the $5,998 mammogram and ultrasound, the $2,578 biopsy, the $2,174 for chemotherapy. Andrea Castillo, Los Angeles Times, "COVID stopped her parents from returning to China. Now her mom has cancer," 19 Dec. 2020 The hospital has also delayed many elective or non-emergency procedures, up to and including things like cancer patients having ports implanted to receive chemotherapy. Dennis Pillion | Dpillion@al.com, al, "UAB expects number of COVID patients to double by next week," 9 Dec. 2020 In 2017, for example, Genentech paid more than $3 million to physicians to promote Avastin, a chemotherapy drug that has been on the market since 2004. Deborah Korenstein, STAT, "Drug companies’ payments and gifts affect physicians’ prescribing. It’s time to turn off the spigot," 4 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chemotherapy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of chemotherapy

1910, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chemotherapy

borrowed from German Chemotherapie, from chemo- chemo- + Therapie therapy

Note: The German word Chemotherapie is strongly associated with Paul ehrlich, though it is uncertain if he is its originator. Ehrlich probably first used the word in print in the article "Chemotherapeutische Trypanosomen-Studien," Berliner klinische Wochenschrift, 44. Jahrgang, No. 9 (March 4, 1907), pp. 233-36 (along with the Latin equivalent chemotherapia in the phrase chemotherapia specifica). Ehrlich employed the word earlier, however, in an address read at the dedication of the Georg-Speyer-Haus in Frankfurt am Main on September 6, 1906. What appears to be a summary of the address was published as "Die Aufgaben der Chemotherapie" ("The Tasks of Chemotherapy") in the feuilleton section of the Frankfurter Zeitung und Handelsblatt, 51. Jahrgang, No. 244, September 4, 1906, p. 1. The full text of the address ("Ansprache bei Einweihung des Georg-Speyer-Hauses") was published for the first time in The Collected Papers of Paul Ehrlich, edited by F. Himmelweit, vol. III Chemotherapy (London, 1960), pp. 42-52.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chemotherapy

Time Traveler for chemotherapy

Time Traveler

The first known use of chemotherapy was in 1910

See more words from the same year

Statistics for chemotherapy

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chemotherapy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chemotherapy. Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for chemotherapy

chemotherapy

noun
How to pronounce chemotherapy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of chemotherapy

medical : the use of chemicals to treat or control a disease (such as cancer)

chemotherapy

noun
che·​mo·​ther·​a·​py | \ -ˈther-ə-pē How to pronounce chemotherapy (audio) \
plural chemotherapies

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

Note: Chemotherapy may be used alone as a primary treatment or may be used before, after, or in conjunction with surgery or radiation.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on chemotherapy

What made you want to look up chemotherapy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!