Discover your career path


Administer drugs to stop cancer.

What does a Chemotherapist do?

When cancer takes hold, normal cells begin to divide and spread incredibly quickly. These cells can choke off normal cells, and eventually, the person can die. Chemotherapy may help stop this cycle, but the drugs must kill only the infected cells and leave the healthy ones alone. Chemotherapists perform studies to find chemotherapy drugs that do just that.

Each type of cancer works a bit differently, which means some drugs that work on one type may not work on another. A Chemotherapist usually specializes in researching just one type of cancer, and knows that cancer like the back of your hand.

As a Chemotherapist, you compare parts of the cancer cell to parts of a healthy cell, looking for weaknesses that you can attack. Once you’ve isolated an area, you apply chemotherapy drugs to it and study how the cell responds. The drug must kill the cancer without harming the other cells, so you look for the lowest dose you can find that will do exactly that.

Each study you design must be well documented so you can prove that the drug is really as effective as you claim. Other Scientists must be able to reproduce your results, so keeping secrets isn’t allowed. After the study is complete, you write reports about what you found and how you conducted your research.

The fight against cancer is long and difficult, but even the small discoveries you make can have a real impact on the people who have the form of cancer you’re studying. It’s this fact that motivates you to go to work each day.