Where do patients receive chemotherapy?

The question is most important in the case of infused agents, including immunotherapies.  Oral agents can be taken in the patient’s home, although some doctors like the patient to be in a clinic or physician’s office to ensure adherence (i.e. that the patient swallows the pills).  Medicines given by IV can be administered while a patient is in a hospital bed or, more commonly, in a chair while on an out-patient visit.  Many oncology practices (businesses owned by one or more doctors) offer this service.  The patient does not see a doctor when he or she goes in but a nurse or technician hooks up the IV bag.  Some hospitals have dedicated places to offer this service.   There are also specialty infusion clinics, which may treat patients with other diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 650,000 patients get chemo in an outpatient setting in the US every year.  Doctors’ offices, special chemotherapy clinics, and hospitals are common sites for outpatient care.