12/20/2012 05:54 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How Chemotherapy Works

Cancer isn't one disease, and there isn't one cure. The menu of treatment options includes drugs (chemotherapy), surgery, and radiation; they are often used together or one after another. The tricky thing is that unlike viruses or bacteria, which are totally different organisms, cancer cells were once healthy human cells -- they were once us! So any chemotherapeutic agent is going to do some collateral damage. But how do these drugs work in the first place? Check out the answer below:

This lesson was developed with Charles Morton and Prof. John Essigmann, and animated by TED-Ed.

For more by George Zaidan, click here.

For more on chronic conditions, click here.