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Date: 27 October 2020

Time: 11:38

Cancer treatment procedures

On your first appointment you will be given the contact details of the team delivering your care. The Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) will be your "key worker" and will be able to answer any concerns you have.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a treatment using cytotoxic drugs that aims to cure cancer or relieve any symptoms that can be caused by cancer.

After you have seen the doctor, specialist trained nurses will be responsible for the administration of your chemotherapy. Most chemotherapy drugs can be administered in the Outpatient Department. However, on some occasions some patients may need to stay in hospital. We have specialist wards for our cancer patients:

  • The Edgbaston Ward
  • The Harborne Ward
  • The Bournville Ward

Our wards are specially built to deliver care to people with cancer.

Chemotherapy may be given:

  • by mouth (tablets or liquid which are taken like any other medication)
  • by injection into the vein over five to 60 minutes
  • by injection into the muscle
  • by intravenous infusion, a longer injection given over a number of hours (or sometimes days) by a pump attached to a drip, sometimes as an inpatient

Before starting any chemotherapy you will have an examination by a doctor and you may require further tests. This is to make sure you are fit enough to receive treatment. The length of your chemotherapy treatment will depend upon the particular combination of medicines, called a "regimen", which you will be receiving. Your doctor and nurse will explain this in more detail.

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Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is a method of treating cancer that uses carefully measured doses of radiation. The treatment is painless and takes just a few minutes. The doctor will firstly examine you and explain the treatment he is prescribing to you and any side effects you may experience.

Before radiotherapy can start, we will need to assess the area that requires treatment. This is called "pre-treatment planning" and a separate appointment will be made for this. Your treatment is specific to you so your first appointment in the radiotherapy department will be to image the area that requires treatment. We have to ensure the radiation is directed to the correct area to ensure you receive the maximum benefits with minimum side effects.

Your treatment is given as an outpatient appointment and you will be able to go home straight afterwards. If you live a long way from the hospital accommodation is available in the Bromley Wing. A course of treatment can last up to six weeks but it is usually shorter than this.

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Other procedures

Cancers can also be treated by other medicines, such as hormones and biphosponates. Some cancers are slow-growing and the consultant oncologist may decide it is more appropriate not to treat the cancer when you are first diagnosed, but to enter you on a surveillance programme, where you will be closely monitored and your treatment plan adjusted as your disease progresses.

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