Guide: How to Say Chemo in French – Formal and Informal Ways

When it comes to discussing medical treatments and conditions in another language, it’s essential to learn the proper vocabulary. In this guide, we will explore how to say “chemo” in French, providing both formal and informal expressions. Whether you’re traveling to a French-speaking country or simply curious about expanding your language skills, this guide will equip you with the necessary knowledge. Let’s dive in!

Formal Ways to Say Chemo in French

When using formal language in French, it’s important to employ appropriate expressions. In the medical field, the term “chemo” is referred to as chemotherapy. Here are some formal ways to express this:

1. Chimiothérapie

Chimiothérapie is the direct translation of “chemotherapy” in French. It is the widely accepted term in medical contexts and is commonly used by healthcare professionals.

Example: La chimiothérapie est souvent utilisée pour traiter le cancer.

(Chemotherapy is often used to treat cancer.)

2. Traitement par chimiothérapie

An alternative formal expression is “traitement par chimiothérapie,” which translates to “chemotherapy treatment.” This longer phrase is frequently used in medical discussions to emphasize the nature of the treatment.

Example: Mon père a commencé son traitement par chimiothérapie la semaine dernière.

(My father started his chemotherapy treatment last week.)

Informal Ways to Say Chemo in French

Informal language is more commonly used in day-to-day conversations. Here are a couple of informal ways to refer to chemotherapy:

1. Chimo

“Chimo” is an informal abbreviation for chimiothérapie. This term is commonly used by French speakers and is understood in casual discussions.

Example: Mon amie a commencé sa chimo il y a trois semaines.

(My friend started her chemo three weeks ago.)

2. Chimio

Similar to “chimo,” “chimio” is another informal way of saying chemotherapy in French. It is commonly heard in everyday conversations among friends and family.

Example: Les effets secondaires de la chimio peuvent être difficiles à supporter.

(The side effects of chemo can be hard to bear.)

Summary of Formal and Informal Expressions

Now that we have explored both the formal and informal ways of saying “chemo” in French, let’s summarize them:

  • Formal: Chimiothérapie, Traitement par chimiothérapie
  • Informal: Chimo, Chimio

It’s important to note that while the informal expressions are widely used in day-to-day conversations, they may not be suitable for official or professional environments.

Regional Variations

French is spoken in various regions around the world, and it’s worth mentioning that regional variations may exist. However, for the specific term “chemo” or chemotherapy, there aren’t substantial variations within French-speaking regions. The formal and informal expressions mentioned earlier are widely understood and used across different French-speaking countries.


Congratulations! Now you are equipped with formal and informal ways to express “chemotherapy” or “chemo” in French. Remember to use the formal expressions in professional settings, while the informal ones can be employed in casual conversations with friends and family. So whether you’re discussing medical treatments or expanding your language skills, you can confidently communicate about chemotherapy in French. Bon courage!

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