Chemotherapy for breast cancer
Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses anti-cancer drugs to kill cancer cells. The medications interfere with the cells’ ability to divide and grow. This can destroy the cancer cells, reducing the chance of spread and decreasing the risk of the disease recurring.
Cancer treatment can be physically and emotionally stressful. At this difficult time, The London Clinic can offer expert care, sensitive support and a clean, calm environment in which to recover.
The London Clinic offers all the latest chemotherapy drugs, administered by an expert multi-disciplinary team.
There are clinical nurse specialists and expert chemotherapy nurses in breast care to guide and advise about the possible side-effects and help control your symptoms.
Chemotherapy can be offered as an inpatient or as an outpatient.
For patients coming in for the day, there are 22 specially-designed pods, so that each person can receive treatment in comfort and privacy.
Why choose The London Clinic
Excellence in one place
We operate as teams of experts with world-class resources dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of medical care. You are surrounded by the latest treatments and advice with everything you need to get back to your best health.
Personal care, every time
Exceptional patient care is a way of life for us. Our nurses, clinicians and support teams are dedicated to the care of a very small number of patients, so have more time for you. They’ll be with you every step of the way, tailoring your care around you and giving the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing you’re in the best hands.
We work together as one to guide you through each step of your experience, with complexities unravelled and answers readily to hand. Your personal treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.
What's included in your package?
Choosing The London Clinic means your treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.
Your treatment package will include:
- Enhanced pre-admission assessment
- Your treatment with our complete care team at your fingertips
- Personalised aftercare and follow-up
We want you to be in control of your health. That’s why we also offer optional services such as comprehensive recovery packages and extra touches for you to choose from during your stay with us.
How to pay
- You can use private medical insurance (PMI) to access this treatment. We work with all major PMI providers in the UK and many internationally
- You can pay for yourself (self-pay)
- If you’re paying for yourself, we have finance options available with Chrysalis
Chemotherapy drugs work in different ways, so a combination of medications is often used to prevent the cancer cells dividing and spreading.
Not everyone with breast cancer will need chemotherapy. The London Clinic offers individual breast cancer typing.
This technique can help our consultants determine which tumours are more likely to spread and which women may get the most benefit from chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy can be given at different stages of cancer care. It may be administered following surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells and reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.
Chemotherapy is also sometimes given to women before surgery. It can slow down the growth of the cancer or be used to shrink tumours, making surgery easier.
Our specialist multi-disciplinary teams work closely with world-leading oncology consultants.
Your specialist will discuss whether chemotherapy is appropriate for your cancer. They will discuss the side-effects of the treatment and take time to answer any questions you may have.
The London Clinic provides chemotherapy by mouth or intravenous injection, depending on the type of medication. The dose is modified to best suit your weight and the function of your kidneys.
If the drugs need to be injected into your blood stream, a drip may be inserted.
Sometimes, a device called an indwelling catheter (Port or PICC Line) can be put into your vein; this stays in place throughout the course of your treatment.
It reduces the need for repeated needle insertions and can be much more comfortable, especially for people in whom venous access is a problem.
Chemotherapy affects the division and growth of cells throughout the body. This causes a number of side-effects; they can be unpleasant but should be temporary and many can be controlled by our expert team.
Different drugs can cause different problems, but even the same medication can affect two people differently.
Your consultant or the expert chemotherapy nurses will let you know what to expect and offer treatments and strategies to help you control your symptoms and stay comfortable.
Your clinical nurse specialist will also provide support throughout your treatment. Complementary therapy is also available whilst you are being given your treatment or a referral to our oncology counsellor.
Chemotherapy can affect blood cells, leading to reduced levels of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.
This can result in a number of symptoms, some of which can be serious.
Having too few white cells may reduce your immunity, leaving you vulnerable to infection.
This usually happens around 7–14 days after chemotherapy. You may feel feverish and unwell or notice a cough, cold or urinary symptoms.
Low platelets can cause problems with clotting, leading to bruising or bleeding from the nose or gums. Insufficient red blood cells lead to anaemia, which can make you feel weak, tired and breathless.
Your specialist team will advise you of the symptoms to look out for and The London Clinic will give you a 24-hour contact number, so that you can get advice at any time during your treatment, if you feel unwell.
You may need transfusion, antibiotics or supportive care.
You may also experience:
- Hair loss: The clinical nurse specialist can recommend strategies to decrease loss, including chemotherapy cool caps. They can also suggest places to source wigs and hair pieces.
- Sickness, nausea and vomiting.
- Digestive problems including heartburn, constipation and diarrhoea.
- Numbness in the hands and feet.
- Problems with the mouth and teeth, including ulcers, thrush and gum disease.
- Rashes and nail changes.
- Rarely some drugs can cause heart or lung problems. Your specialist will discuss the risks, balancing them against the benefits of treating your cancer.