Chemotherapy is a type of medicine that is administered to a patient to destroy or control cancer cells. It damages and kills cancer cells so they can’t reproduce.
We use chemotherapy in a number of cases:
- to try to cure cancer completely – this is known as curative chemotherapy
- if there is a chance that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body to try and control the spread of the disease
- to help make other treatments more effective – for example, chemotherapy can be combined with radiotherapy (where radiation is used to kill cancerous cells), or it can be used before surgery
- to reduce the risk of the cancer returning after radiotherapy or surgery
- to relieve symptoms – a cure may not be possible for advanced cancer, but chemotherapy may be used to relieve the symptoms and slow it down; this is known as palliative chemotherapy.
At The Holly Private Hospital we usually give people chemotherapy medicine by using a drip (intravenous infusion) into the blood stream through a vein or through an injection into the bloodstream. However we can also administer chemotherapy tablets or capsules.
Our new purpose built chemotherapy suite is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment needed to deliver complex cancer treatment in comfortable and relaxed surroundings.
Patients having chemotherapy at The Holly Private Hospital can choose to have treatment in their own private bedroom or in our chemotherapy suite with other patients. Many people find that they enjoy the social aspect of having treatment with other people in a similar situation.
Most medical insurers will cover the cost of your chemotherapy treatment; however we advise that you contact your insurance provider before starting any treatment.
If you do not have private medical insurance you can pay for the treatment yourself.
For more information about self-pay prices, please call us on 020 8936 1157.
We also offer patients scalp cooling. This can reduce the hair loss patients suffer due to chemotherapy by cooling and contracting the blood vessels to the scalp, which in turn reduces the levels of chemotherapy drugs travelling to the hair follicles.
For more information, please talk to your nurse.