Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer, either by killing cancer cells or stopping them from dividing. Usually the drugs are given by infusion into a vein. Then they enter your bloodstream and travel throughout your body.

Receiving Chemotherapy

People with localized anal cancer (cancer that hasn’t spread) have a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This combination, called chemoradiation, has a good chance of curing anal cancer without the need for surgery. People with metastatic anal cancer (cancer that has spread) may have chemotherapy without radiation.

You may receive one or more chemotherapy drugs. For anal cancer, commonly used drugs include the following:

  • Fluorouracil (5-FU, Adrucil, Efudex, Fluoroplex)
  • Mitomycin C (Mitozytrex, Mutamycin)
  • Cisplatin (Platinol) (used only for metastatic anal cancer)

Chemotherapy for Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) patients who need infusions takes place in the Infusion Suite on the fifth floor of the SCCA clinic.

Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Although chemotherapy may help cure your cancer or extend your life, it may also make you uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are better drugs to help manage the side effects than we had in the past.

Your team at SCCA will talk with you about the specific side effects you might experience, and we will help you prevent, reduce, or manage these effects as best as possible. You can find general information in the symptom management section.


American Cancer Society
American Society of Clinical Oncology
National Cancer Institute