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Chemotherapy

The Spire Specialist Care Centre has a dedicated chemotherapy day unit with three private rooms and five open pods, so depending how you feel you can choose to suit your mood

What is chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer drugs to treat cancer. There are many different chemotherapy drugs available, some useful for treating a variety of different types of cancer, while others can only be used to treat one or two types. Sometimes chemotherapy medications are in tablet form, but they are more commonly given as an ‘intravenous’ medication in a hospital or clinic setting. Chemotherapy may be used alone or in combination with other treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy or biological agents.

If you need private chemotherapy treatment, Spire Healthcare hospitals aim to provide a warm and friendly environment where you can feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. Your team will have access to the latest innovations in chemotherapy treatment for a wide range of cancers to make sure you get the best care available.

Your consultant oncologist will develop an individually tailored and integrated care plan for you and you will be cared for throughout your treatment by a team of specialist oncology nurses.

About chemotherapy treatment

If you need chemotherapy, you will be referred to a consultant oncologist who specialises in your type of cancer. They will discuss the type and length of treatment you need with you, and will oversee all of your chemotherapy. You will also have the opportunity to talk about your treatment and any side effects with the nursing team before your first session of chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is often given in a hospital setting but in some cases it may involve medications such as tablets that you can take at home.

Chemotherapy may become a part of your life for a while. For most patients, chemotherapy treatment will be given in cycles over a period of four to six months, with between one and four treatments each month. 

Your oncologist will usually see you at the start of each treatment cycle. Treatment sessions can be just a morning or an afternoon but can extend to a whole day, so you are welcome to bring a family member or friend with you to keep you company. Spire Specialist Care Centre offers you a relaxed and friendly environment so that you can feel as comfortable as possible while you are here. We offer some light snacks and refreshments for both you and your guest and anyone receiving treatment can order a lunch ahead or on the day of your visit via their chemotherapy nurse.

Chemotherapy is usually given through a drip in your arm together with anti sickness drugs. You will be able to sit or lie comfortably and read, use your tablet/laptop and eat and drink as normal. You will be cared for throughout each treatment by our specialist oncology nurses who can help answer your questions and provide any information you may need.

It is important that you feel supported and reassured throughout the process. The oncology nurses provide an emergency out of hours telephone advice service should you become unwell while at home. Your nurses will also give you a list of useful contact numbers for additional support or advice when you need it.

How will I feel during chemotherapy

Side effects vary depending on the type of chemotherapy drugs used. You may not experience all the side effects associated with the drug you are taking, and if you do, they may only be mild. Most side effects are temporary, and will go after treatment has finished. Often you can take medicines that help to reduce any side effects. Your consultant will discuss the possible side effects associated with your treatment before you start chemotherapy. Your oncology team will help you to prepare for them and support you through any problems.

Common side effects to chemotherapy include sickness, hair loss (depending upon the type of chemotherapy you have) and tiredness, which is the most common side effect. Treatment can also affect the blood, digestive system, mouth, skin, nails, fertility, bone marrow and some body organs. For more information on specific side effects visit the http://www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/treating/chemotherapy

The chemotherapy team

The Chemotherapy team are here to make your journey from diagnosis to treatment as smooth as possible. You will meet a dedicated, dynamic and specialist team who have specialist expertise in chemotherapy. Their welcoming and friendly approach, coupled with advanced theoretical and practical knowledge of treatment, side effects and their management, means you can rest assured that you are in highly skilled hands. The team of professionals will all work together to provide a chemotherapy experience that is tailor made to you. We hope to provide a personal approach to your chemotherapy treatment from a small familiar team that will follow you through your whole journey.

Oncologist

The Clinical Oncologist is the doctor who will be responsible for prescribing and helping to plan your chemotherapy treatment. He/she will see you at your initial consultation to discuss chemotherapy as a treatment option. The Clinical Oncologist works alongside the Chemotherapy Nurses to design the best treatment for you.

Chemotherapy Nurses

Chemotherapy nurses are the professionals you will see on a daily basis when you attend for treatment, they administer the chemotherapy drugs and look after you throughout. The chemotherapy nurses are there to support you through the chemotherapy treatment and will give help and guidance on side effects and any concerns you have.

Centre Administrator

The Centre Administrator will be there to greet you when you attend your chemotherapy appointments. They will help make your time at the Spire Specialist Care Centre as comfortable as possible. They will also be able to help you with any appointment queries. The centre administrators will coordinate your payments and liaise with your insurance company. 

A complimentary therapist will also visit the Spire Specialist Care Centre, access to physiotherapy, psychological support, dieticians and Clinical Nurse Specialists will also be available