Diagnosis and treatment

We will usually treat you as an outpatient at our chemotherapy clinic, as you need to visit for a few hours or a whole day rather than stay in hospital. However, some patients will stay on the cancer wards during their treatment.

We treat all cancers, but in particularly specialise in

  • 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're given depends on many things - particularly the type of cancer you have, where in your body it started, what the cancer cells look like under the microscope and whether they have spread to other parts of your body.

Delivering chemotherapy

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 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.

Specialist procedures

Other specialist procedures that we carry out on 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.