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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?

The London Clinic is dedicated to providing the best, personalised healthcare with over 600 world-renowned consultants available to offer informed health advice and treatment.

Spanning Harley Street and Devonshire Place, The London Clinic is situated in the heart of London’s internationally-known medical district. This central location, together with state-of-the-art technologies and facilities that are not widely available in other hospitals, makes The London Clinic the hospital of choice for around 120,000 patients every year.

Offering affordable and competitive self-pay packages and expert support from Clinical Nurse Specialists and our specialised multidisciplinary team, 98% of our patients said they would recommend The London Clinic to their friends and families

Understanding your treatment

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.

Treatment facts

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.

Treatment risks and recovery

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.1

Chemotherapy treatment cost

Cancer care at The London Clinic may be covered by your insurance. We also offer affordable, competitive self-pay packages for breast cancer treatment. Please call +44 (0) 207 616 7693 and speak to our helpful team to find out more about private chemotherapy and to book an appointment.

[1] Chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer

Appointment enquiries: +44 (0) 20 3944 1073 Concierge service: +44 (0) 203 219 3323 Self-Pay service: +44 (0) 203 918 7301International office: +44 (0) 203 219 3266 Invoice and payment enquiries: +44 (0) 207 616 7708 General enquiries: +44 (0) 20 3918 9135

Breast services appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7653 Diagnostics appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7653 Endoscopy appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7760 Eye centre appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7768 Haematology appointments: +44 (0) 207 535 5503 Kidney services appointments: +44 (0) 207 224 5234 Liver services appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7719 Physiotherapy appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7651 Radiology appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7653

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