1. Moran, Peggy MS, RN, CS, OCN


Cancer chemotherapy drugs (CDs) exert a cytotoxic effect by altering one or more aspects of the growth kinetics of cancer and malignant cells. The pattern and extent of cytotoxicity determines in part the scientific rationale of various CD regimens and accounts for many of the common side effects of treatment. This article provides an overview of the behavior of cancer at the cellular level and the impact exerted by CDs on normal and malignant cell growth. Examples are provided of how these scientific concepts affect treatment outcomes and clinical decisions. The nurse's role in monitoring and managing the related side effects of treatment also is discussed.