Chemotherapy is the use of cytotoxic or anti-cancer drugs that kill cancer cells. The aim of chemotherapy is to destroy the cancer cells, reduce the possibility of cancer cells returning, or in some instances ease the symptoms of cancer.

Not all patients being treated for breast cancer have chemotherapy treatment. Those who do may be given chemotherapy following their surgery to destroy undetected cancer cells that have spread from the breast that may not have been uncovered by scans or tests.

Chemotherapy is also sometimes given to women before surgery to slow down the growth of the tumour or to shrink tumours, thereby making surgery easier. This type of treatment is called neoadjuvant chemotherapy and it can mean you might then be able to have breast conserving surgery instead of a mastectomy.

How is chemotherapy delivered?

The London Clinic provides chemotherapy in several forms such as pills taken by mouth or drugs inserted into your bloodstream via a vein through a drip or an injection:

  • In some cases, an indwelling catheter can be put into your vein; this central line remains there throughout the course of all your treatment. It reduces the need for many different needle insertions that can cause bruising and soreness.
  • Another method uses a portable device attached to a battery operated pump which distributes controlled amounts of chemotherapy drugs over a set time. This allows you to have your treatment at home and visit the hospital when the drug has finished.

The dose of chemotherapy is modified to best suit your weight and height.

Making the decision to have chemotherapy

A lot of evidence supports the benefits of chemotherapy but its efficiency depends on factors such as type of breast cancer, size of tumour and stage of cancer. Your consultant or one of our clinical nurse specialists in breast care can help and support your decision of whether or not to have chemotherapy. They can also advise you on possible side effects of chemotherapy.

Treatment at The London Clinic

For more information about private chemotherapy for breast cancer, click here and complete the enquiry form or call +44 (0) 207 616 7693.