Chemotherapy for Small Intestine Cancer

NYU Langone doctors may use chemotherapy, drugs that destroy cancer cells throughout the body, to manage small intestine cancer.

Doctors may recommend chemotherapy when small intestine cancer has spread to other organs and cannot be managed with surgery, because it is too advanced.

Chemotherapy may be given after surgery for small intestine cancer. This approach is called adjuvant chemotherapy and may help reduce the risk of the cancer returning.


Chemotherapy for small intestine cancer may be given through a vein with intravenous (IV) infusion or may be taken by mouth. The duration of treatment varies from person to person, depending on how advanced the cancer is.

Typically, people have IV infusions over a period of two days every two weeks, allowing the body to recover in between. This cycle may be repeated for several months. Other chemotherapy medications may be taken by mouth daily for several weeks, followed by treatment breaks.

Some of the most common chemotherapy drugs doctors prescribe for small intestine cancer include fluorouracil, capecitabine, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin.

Managing the Side Effects of Chemotherapy

NYU Langone doctors, nurses, nutritionists, and other specialists can help you minimize and manage common side effects of chemotherapy, which may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, and mouth sores.

Steps may be taken before or during treatment to help reduce or minimize side effects. For example, specialists can provide lotions, mouthwashes, and other aids to help manage skin rashes and mouth sores.

Doctors can also adjust the dose of your medication, substitute other drugs, prescribe antinausea and pain medications, and recommend supportive services.

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