Home Treatments Chemotherapy

What is chemotherapy? 

The Rutherford Cancer Centres provide a chemotherapy treatment service that offers both choice and flexibility. Our team is here to support you on your cancer journey, with treatments and wellbeing services available across the UK through our network of state-of-the-art oncology centres.

Chemotherapy is the use of cytotoxic (anti-cancer) drugs to destroy cancer cells in the body by disrupting the cancer cells and preventing them from growing and dividing. Chemotherapy (sometimes known as a systemic therapy) drugs are specifically designed to damage mutated cancer cells that 'haven't been able to be repaired. While healthy cells are affected during this treatment, they are much better at repairing themselves once the chemotherapy has finished. If you need chemotherapy treatment, you may be treated with a single chemotherapy drug or a combination of chemotherapy drugs, known as a combination chemotherapy regimen.

 

In the UK, there are more than 50 different types of licenced chemotherapy drugs used to treat over 200 different types of cancer. Our consultants can provide you with more information on the types of chemotherapy drugs used and advise you on the best combination chemotherapy regimen for you.

 

Traditionally, treating a patient with chemotherapy is to try and cure the patient of their cancer completely - this is called ''curative'' chemotherapy. Chemotherapy may also be used to reduce the risk of cancer returning after treatment or removal surgery or used to reduce the risk or prevent cancer cells from spreading. In some instances, where the cancer cannot be cured, palliative chemotherapy is offered to relieve patient symptoms.

At the Rutherford, we use two methods for administering chemotherapy drugs:

 

  • Intravenously - which delivers chemotherapy drugs or combination chemotherapy regime directly into the bloodstream (via a port) using a small needle that is inserted into the hand or arm. Intravenous chemotherapy takes place in our state-of-the-art infusion suites, with space for up to ten treatment areas. Our suites are designed with comfort in mind with plenty of natural lighting and comfortable seating.  
  • Orally (via tablets) - which can usually be prescribed and taken at home. There other ways that chemotherapy is administered, to find out more, please visit the Macmillan website.

Cancers we treat with chemotherapy

 

Before treatment begins, an oncologist will discuss and explain the full aim of the chemotherapy treatment plan and if further services will be required alongside it. Chemotherapy can be used as a sole method for treating certain cancers. Alternatively, it can be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as radiotherapy proton beam therapy or, following tumour removal surgery (to ensure remaining cancerous cells are destroyed).

Areas of the body we currently treat using chemotherapy at the Rutherford Cancer Centres:

  • Bowel
  • Blood
  • Brain
  • Breast
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Gynaecological
  • Head & Neck
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Lymphoma
  • Pancreas
  • Sarcoma
  • Skin
  • Stomach
  • Urological

*The suitability of treating certain areas of body with chemotherapy is dependent on the location and staging of the cancer. There may be other types of cancer that can be treated with chemotherapy, that are not listed above; please contact us to find out more.


How does chemotherapy work?

Chemotherapy drugs work by damaging the cancer cells' ability to reproduce (divide) and grow. As the chemotherapy drugs cycle round the bloodstream, the cancer cells eventually die off.

 

Chemotherapy is given as a course of treatment, with the length of the chemotherapy treatment split into individual cycles of treatment. Both the course and cycle(s) of each chemotherapy treatment are dependent on the specific type of cancer to be treated. A course of chemotherapy can typically last between 3-6 months, while the cycles within timeframe tend to last 3-4 weeks at a time. Breaks are given in-between chemotherapy cycles, to allow the body time to recover. Individual chemotherapy treatment sessions that are delivered intravenously (via a port), may take several hours, but in some cases, up to a full day. Our chemotherapy nurses will be able to discuss with you in detail how long each treatment will take, so you can have an idea of what to expect.

 

As chemotherapy drugs affect both cancerous and healthy cells, side effects are expected. Some patients have said that the side effects are the hardest part of receiving chemotherapy treatment. However, not all chemotherapy patients experience every possible side effect and, any healthy cells that are affected will fully recover following treatment. Our consultants and clinical teams will always be on-hand for you, to discuss potential side effects and answer any questions you may have about managing them.

 

The benefits of chemotherapy

Although chemotherapy causes side effects, it can be beneficial to patients in specific circumstances. Everyone is different, and the benefits you see from having chemotherapy will differ to others, but here are some common benefits of when it is highly effective:

  • It can help eradicate certain cancer cells from the body
  • It can be effective when shrinking tumours before surgery
  • It can provide symptom relief for patients under palliative care

An overview of how chemotherapy works

Chemotherapy, is the use of anti-cancer drugs that destroy cancer cells in the body. Find out more by watching this video by Macmillan Cancer Support.

Watch the video

Absolutely lovely, friendly warm welcome from everybody we saw, couldn't ask for anymore.

Patient Feedback - Rutherford Cancer Centre South Wales

July 2019

Friendly staff, nice location/setting.

Patient Feedback - Rutherford Cancer Centre South Wales

July 2019

My visit was most enjoyable, thank you for putting me at ease.

Patient Feedback - Rutherford Cancer Centre South Wales

June 2019

As soon as we entered the property the receptionist was friendly, the area was immaculate. The facilities the same. I hope more people get to use this clinic and the care of all the staff.

Patient Feedback - Rutherford Cancer Centre South Wales

June 2019

What a really lovely place. 1st visit as an NHS patient. Very relaxing, great coffee! Smashing staff. Thank you for making my home town your home!

Patient Feedback - Rutherford Cancer Centre South Wales

June 2019

We're here for you

It’s important that you feel supported, not only during your treatment but also afterwards, to give your body the best possible chance to heal.

After treatments your recovery will be supported by regular follow-up checks with your consultant. These will vary depending on the area of your body that's been treated, and the amount of treatment you've received. Follow-up appointments are used to help keep track of your recovery, so if you have any concerns you will have the opportunity to discuss them with your consultant.

The diagnosis of cancer combined with possible side effects can affect how you feel. Your treatment team is here to support you, and we encourage you to talk to us. Sometimes just talking about your emotions can be of great help and if necessary, we can arrange for further advice and support.

 Macmillan Cancer Support offers a wide range of information and support, as well as help with your practical, emotional, and financial needs. All telephone helplines are free and confidential, and interpreting services are also available.

Freephone: 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 8.00pm)
www.macmillan.org.uk

General information for patients having chemotherapy

If you would like to know more about chemotherapy, including how it works, its benefits and possible side effects; please download our patient guide.

Download General info - chemotherapy(pdf)

Traditionally, the aim of treating a patient with chemotherapy is to try and cure the patient of their cancer completely - this is known as ‘curative’ chemotherapy. Chemotherapy may also be used to reduce the risk of cancer returning after treatment or removal surgery or used to reduce the risk or prevent cancer cells from spreading. In certain cases, where the cancer cannot be cured, palliative chemotherapy is offered to relieve patient symptoms.

Not all cancers are treated with the same chemotherapy drugs or in the same way. There are many different types of chemotherapy available and new drugs are being developed all the time depending on a patient’s treatment needs.

We use two methods for administering chemotherapy drugs at Rutherford Cancer Centres. Intravenously, which administers chemotherapy drugs or combination chemotherapy regime directly into the bloodstream via a small needle inserted into the hand or arm and orally, via tablets.

Intravenous chemotherapy takes place in our state-of-the-art infusion suites, with space for up to ten treatment areas. Our areas are designed with comfort in mind with plenty of natural lighting and comfortable seating. Patients can choose to take treatment in the open ward, alongside other chemotherapy patients, or in a side room, where they can relax in private with a personal computer or tablet for entertainment.

Chemotherapy is given as a course of treatment, with the length of the chemotherapy treatment split into individual cycles of treatment. Both the course and cycle(s) of each chemotherapy treatment are dependent on the specific type of cancer to be treated.

A course of chemotherapy can typically last between 3-6 months, while the cycles within timeframe tend to last 3-4 weeks at a time. Breaks are given in-between chemotherapy cycles, to allow the body time to recover. Individual chemotherapy treatment sessions that are delivered intravenously (via a port), may take several hours, but in some cases, up to a full day. Our chemotherapy nurses will be able to advise how long each treatment will take.

Get in Touch

If you'd like to speak to us about any of the treatments we offer please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 0800 210 0402 or

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