Gemzar (There may be other brand names for this medication)
How is it Administered?
Your medicine will be given by injection into a vein.
What is Gemcitabine Used For?
This drug is used to treat cancer of the pancreas and may be used to treat non-small cell lung cancer, bladder cancer, soft-tissue sarcoma, metastatic breast cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.
How Does it Work?
Cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Your chemotherapy schedule is based upon the type of cancer you have, how quickly the cancer cells reproduce, and the reproductive phase(s) during which each drug is most effective. This is why chemotherapy is typically given in cycles.
Gemcitabine is in a class of drugs known as antimetabolites; more specifically, it is a pyrimidine antagonist. Gemcitabine is biologically similar to substances normally found inside the cell. The cancer cells take in the gemcitabine and it interrupts the cell cycle, disrupting their growth and their ability to reproduce.
The faster cells are reproducing, the more likely it is that chemotherapy will damage/kill the cells. Unfortunately, some normal cells reproduce rapidly too, and it is these cells that are most likely to be affected. (Cells lining the mouth, stomach, and intestines; hair follicles; and blood cells). These normal cells will eventually grow back and be healthy. During treatment, however, you may experience side effects. (See sections on side effects and how to manage them.)