At UCLH we treat a wide range of cancers and use many different drugs to treat patients with cancer. These include chemotherapy, antibodies and targeted molecules. These treatments are known as systemic anticancer therapy.

The term ‘chemotherapy’ refers to the treatment of cancer with drugs designed to control or destroy the growth of the tumour. Chemotherapy does this by damaging the DNA in a cancer cell to stop it from replicating. Antibody treatments are special proteins that can kill cancers; they do this by directly killing a cancer cell or by affecting how immune cells interact with cancer cells, to allow the immune system to kill the cancer cell. Targeted molecules are drugs that disrupt specific cellular processes within a cancer cell.

All systemic anticancer therapies are potentially toxic and can cause unwanted side effects. These will be explained to you by the team treating you.

At UCLH, chemotherapy is administered in a number of different settings:

In all these departments, systemic anticancer therapy is delivered by a dedicated team of medical, pharmacy and nursing staff, who are all highly trained specialists in this area. There are detailed quality procedures that we follow when we prescribe, produce, dispense and deliver our chemotherapy service.

You will be given specific information about your disease, your treatment, the side effects and what to do if you experience certain side effects. This includes a phone number you can call to speak to a healthcare professional to discuss any clinical issues that arise while you’re receiving chemotherapy. This is available 24 hours a day.

Patient contact

Other referral information

Referral for chemotherapy is via the tumour specific specialist multidiscplinary teams (MDTs).  Please refer to individual referral pages for a particular type of cancer for more details.

Information for patients starting chemotherapy

Before starting chemotherapy please watch these videos that will give you information on the process of being giving chemotherapy, the management of the chemotherapy side effects and how we can help you through your chemotherapy treatment.

Chemotherapy education: receiving chemotherapy at University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre

Chemotherapy education: managing the side effects of treatment

Chemotherapy education: the emotional impact of treatment