Diagnosis and treatment

The chemotherapy clinic mainly treats people as outpatients – so they don't need to stay in hospital for treatment, they just visit for a few hours or a whole day.

However, some patients will stay on the D3 or C4 wards during their treatment.

The centre treats all cancers. However, it specialises in treating certain cancers, and has developed an excellent reputation in these areas:

  • Breast cancer
  • Gastrointestinal cancers
  • Lung cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Lymphoma, a cancer that affects white blood cells and the immune system
  • Melanoma, a malignant tumour normally found on the skin

The type of chemotherapy treatment you are given depends on many things – particularly the type of cancer you have, where in the body it started, what the cancer cells look like under the microscope and whether they have spread to other parts of the body.

Chemotherapy is given in different ways:

  • Intravenously – Most often the drug is injected into a vein
  • Orally – The drugs will be given as tablets or capsules for you to swallow. We now have a service that allows you to have your oral medicines delivered directly to your home or another convenient address. For more information about this service see the home delivery service leaflet.

Drugs given in these ways are absorbed into the blood and carried round the body so they can reach all the cancer cells.

Sometimes, chemotherapy drugs are given in a way that means they stay in one place and do not affect cells in other parts of the body. These methods include:

  • Intrathecal chemotherapy – where the drugs are injected into the fluid round the spine
  • Intracavity chemotherapy – where the drugs are injected into particular body cavities such as the bladder
  • Chemotherapy creams – which are applied to the skin to treat cancers of the skin

Other specialist procedures carried out by the unit include:

  • Blood transfusions, transferring blood or blood products from one person to another
  • Bone marrow biopsy, a diagnostic test to find out about possible blood disorders
  • Stem cell procurement, normally carried out before a bone marrow transplant