How chemotherapy is given
Chemotherapy can be given, by mouth, by injection or by infusion. Infusion means a bag or syringe of fluid is injected into a vein over a period of time. It often involves more than one drug or bag of fluid at a session and it is often combined with drugs to stop sickness and fluid to ensure that you are kept well hydrated.
Sometimes a single appointment is required, but more usually you will have several appointments at set intervals. As with most things, there is a lot of jargon to describe chemotherapy and the set of appointments is called a "cycle". Multiple cycles are quite usual and these are called a "course" of chemotherapy.
The exact make up of the cycles and courses varies specifically to suit you and the cancer that you have and the stage of the disease that you have reached. Repeated courses or different courses of treatment can be used when the disease is not eliminated by the initial treatments.
Inpatient and Ambulatory Care chemotherapy.
Almost all patients are able to have their chemotherapy as outpatients or as day-unit attendees. A few still need to be admitted as inpatients, because of the length or complexity of the treatment or the need to monitor the effects in the hours after treatment. If you have been told that you will need to be an inpatient then you will receive your chemotherapy on one of our oncology or haematology inpatient wards in Bexley Wing at St James’s. Follow this link for more information about the chemotherapy wards at St James’s A new setting is available for many patients who would previously have needed to come as inpatients known as Ambulatory Care. It is a cross between inpatient and day-unit treatment that allows you to undergo lengthy complex treatment and still go home or stay in the hospital hotel.
Outpatient treatments are dispensed from the Bexley Wing Pharmacy open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm and located on Level 0, alongside main reception at the entrance. We will offer advice on these medicines before you go to pick them up and the pharmacists in the dispensary will also answer any questions that you have, before you leave to take your chemotherapy at home.
This is most common and convenient method of giving intravenous (using a drip into your veins) chemotherapy. You will arrive for your treatment and go home some hours later. The number of visits depends very much on your treatment but it is usually every two or three weeks. Remember that you can get a free parking pass during your treatment, please ask a member of staff about this. Follow this link for more information about day-case chemotherapy
Co-ordinating your treatment
Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) help oversee the whole patient journey through treatment and beyond. This includes any surgical or radiotherapy that you might also be having at Leeds. They are knowledgeable and approachable and will answer queries about the disease and its treatment. Please click on the "Conditions treated" section and click on the relevant condition and then "Meet the team" for more information.