Cancer treatments

Private cancer treatment is available in Edinburgh at Spire Murrayfield Hospital - a BUPA-accredited centre of treatment for gynaecological, colorectal and breast cancers, with private treatment also available for urological and pancreatic cancers. Our cancer centre is also a designated Quality Environment for the treatment of cancer patients by Macmillan Cancer Support.

Our service incorporates expert clinical assessment at all stages, from diagnosis through to a return to wellness. Our multidisciplinary teams of specialists include consultant surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, specialist nurses and many more individuals who work together to care for and support you during your treatment journey at Spire Murrayfield Hospital Edinburgh.

Surgery for cancer

Surgical removal of a tumour can be an early stage option to reduce the size of a cancer or remove it altogether. While surgical removal can often be the only treatment required, a treatment programme may also include chemotherapy or radiotherapy or treatment sessions of both. Some patients may also return to surgery at a later stage during their treatment for further 'debulking' or removal of a tumour. 


Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer drugs (cytotoxins) against the cells of malignant growths and tumours. With over 50 varieties of chemotherapy drugs available, your treatment may include one type or a combination of several drugs. Chemotherapy can be administered orally or intravenously depending on the type of drug used.

Chemotherapy may be used prior to surgery to shrink a tumour to enhance the chance of successful surgical removal, or as part of a cancer treatment programme either following surgery or as a stand-alone treatment.

Should you require chemotherapy treatment as part of your cancer care at Spire Murrayfield Hospital, all of your oncology needs will be cared for in our bespoke, state-of-the-art oncology suite. Click here for more information about the oncology day chemotherapy centre.

Radiotherapy and brachytherapy

Treatment for some cancers can include radiotherapy and brachytherapy. If one of these treatments are identified as the best option for you, or as a possible adjunct to another treatment, your Spire consultant will arrange for your radiotherapy or brachytherapy treatment to be carried out at the NHS Western General Hospital in Edinburgh or the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow.

Radiotherapy uses X-rays and other radiation in an external or internal way to treat certain types of cancer. It can be used as a sole treatment for a cancer, or as part of a comprehensive treatment programme, often in conjunction with surgery or chemotherapy.

Radiotherapy, or radiation therapy, can be administered like an X-ray from outside the body, or by using radioactive material localised internally, called seed brachytherapy. It can also be administered as a liquid, this is called radioisotope treatment.

Your specialist consultant oncologist will determine the best clinical pathway for your treatment, and will inform you of any side effects that may be associated with that treatment.

Palliative care

At Spire Murrayfield Hospital palliative treatment and supportive care is given to help relieve symptoms and reduce suffering in patients with cancer at all stages of treatment, including those with curable cancers, and those who are in the final stages of their illness, approaching the end of their life. Our cancer care team also works closely with Marie Curie Cancer Centre Fairmilehead and the team there to meet our patient's needs.  

Palliative care can be administered at Spire Murrayfield Hospital as an in-patient on a day visit and during a respite care stay over a number of days. Click here to find out more about symptom control and palliative medicine.  

Cancer treatment side effects

Like your treatment, any side effects you may experience will be unique - you may experience few side effects, or many. What you experience is often dictated by the type of treatment or cancer drug you receive. With chemotherapy and radiotherapy you may experience side effects which can include feelings of tiredness, sickness, hair loss, oral pain, and damage to skin and nails. For more information about side effects and what to expect once you begin treatment, ask your specialist cancer nurse. Click here to find out more about our oncology team.