At UCLH we treat a wide range of cancers and use many different drugs to treat patients with cancer. These include chemotherapy, antibodies and targeted molecules. These treatments are known as systemic anticancer therapy.
The term ‘chemotherapy’ refers to the treatment of cancer with drugs designed to control or destroy the growth of the tumour. Chemotherapy does this by damaging the DNA in a cancer cell to stop it from replicating. Antibody treatments are special proteins that can kill cancers; they do this by directly killing a cancer cell or by affecting how immune cells interact with cancer cells, to allow the immune system to kill the cancer cell. Targeted molecules are drugs that disrupt specific cellular processes within a cancer cell.
All systemic anticancer therapies are potentially toxic and can cause unwanted side effects. These will be explained to you by the team treating you.
At UCLH, chemotherapy is administered in a number of different settings:
- Chemotherapy day care, which is on the second floor of the Cancer Centre, on Huntley Street.
- In ambulatory care, also situated on the second floor of the Cancer Centre.
- As an inpatient on the haematology or adult oncology wards at University College Hospital.
- As an inpatient or day case at the Children and young persons’ cancer service.
In all these departments, systemic anticancer therapy is delivered by a dedicated team of medical, pharmacy and nursing staff, who are all highly trained specialists in this area. There are detailed quality procedures that we follow when we prescribe, produce, dispense and deliver our chemotherapy service.
You will be given specific information about your disease, your treatment, the side effects and what to do if you experience certain side effects. This includes a phone number you can call to speak to a healthcare professional to discuss any clinical issues that arise while you’re receiving chemotherapy. This is available 24 hours a day.
Information for patients starting chemotherapy
Before starting chemotherapy please watch these videos that will give you information on the process of being giving chemotherapy, the management of the chemotherapy side effects and how we can help you through your chemotherapy treatment.