Skip to main content

Bevacizumab 346

346 Information leaflet on bevacizumab treatment

This leaflet provides information on a treatment known as bevacizumab.  It will explain what this is and when and how it will be given.  It will also tell you about common side effects that you may experience.  Contact telephone numbers and details of how to obtain further information on this treatment are given at the end of the leaflet.

What is bevacizumab?

Bevacizumab is an artificially made antibody which attaches itself to cancer cells and stops them from growing.  It is not chemotherapy.  It works by stopping the cancer from making new blood vessels.  This reduces the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the tumour, so it stops growing or shrinks.   

Why am I having this treatment?

Your doctor has prescribed this treatment because it is believed to be effective in treating your type of cancer. 

How often will I receive this treatment?  

For this treatment to be most effective it will be given at specific time intervals.  These are known as cycles.  Your doctor will discuss the number of cycles you will receive, and the time intervals between the cycles, 

How will my treatment be given?

Your treatment is given through a drip into a vein in the back of your hand or arm.  Alternatively it may be suggested that a fine tube called a PICC is inserted into a large vein in your upper arm.  This line can remain in place for the whole of your treatment.  Your doctor or nurse will explain this in more detail.  

We have a leaflet that tells you more about PICC lines.  Please ask if you would like a copy. 

How long will I be in hospital?

You should be prepared to spend 2½ hours at the hospital for your first treatment.  Bevacizumab is given slowly and we will observe you after the infusion to check you are ok.  For the rest of your treatments this appointment will be shorter.  You will spend about 1½ hours in one of the day case treatment areas.  If you are having chemotherapy treatment on the same day you will be in the hospital for most of the day. 

Can I bring relatives and friends with me?

You are welcome to bring someone to stay with you during your treatment. Space is limited so there is not usually room for more than one person.  Treatment areas are not suitable for young children.


How often will I see the specialist team?

You will usually see the specialist team regularly. Your team will let you know how often they will see you.  You will have regular blood tests and we will check how you are feeling and discuss any problems you may have.  This is so we can check how the treatment is affecting you.  

What are the possible side effects?

This type of treatment is usually very well tolerated and most patients don’t have many side effects.  The doctor, nurses and pharmacists can give you advice or answer any questions you may have.

Hair loss

This treatment should not cause hair loss.


Bevacizumab does not usually cause sickness.

Tiredness and fatigue

This treatment may make you feel more tired than usual.  It is important to listen to your body and rest if you need to, but carry out your normal activities if you feel able.  Some people find it beneficial to take gentle exercise as well as rest.

High blood pressure  

Bevacizumab can cause an increase in blood pressure in some people.  Your blood pressure will be checked regularly during your treatment.  If you have headaches, nosebleeds or feel dizzy let your doctor know.  High blood pressure can usually be controlled with tablets prescribed by your doctor. 

Protein in the urine

This can occur due to effects of bevacizumab on the kidneys.  It doesn’t normally cause symptoms but requires careful monitoring.  Before each dose of treatment you will have your urine tested for protein.  If protein is identified you may need to have a 24-hour urine collection to assess how well your kidneys are working.  Bevacizumab may be stopped until the protein found in the urine has resolved.


Bevacizumab may cause bleeding problems. Tell your doctor if you take any medicines that may affect bleeding, such as aspirin, warfarin or vitamin E. 

Sore mouth

Your mouth may become sore or you may notice small ulcers.  Please follow the advice on caring for your mouth in the general chemotherapy leaflet.  Your doctor may prescribe mouthwashes or medication to prevent or clear any infection.

Effects on your bowels

This treatment has been known to cause either constipation or diarrhoea.  

  • If you experience constipation it is important that you increase the amount of fluids you drink.  You may need laxatives.  You can speak to us or your GP for advice. 
  • If you experience diarrhoea it is important that you drink plenty of fluids.  Medication is available to control diarrhoea.  If you have 4 or more bowel movements in 24 hours above what is normal for you please contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately.  The telephone numbers are at the end of the leaflet.

Allergic type reactions

A small number of patients have an allergic type reaction to bevacizumab.  This is most likely to occur during your first treatment.  That is why it is given slowly and we observe you for any reactions.  If this occurs it will be whilst bevacizumab is infusing or immediately afterwards.  Symptoms include feeling:

  • hot and flushed 
  • itchy 
  • light headed
  • generally unwell  
  • short of breath  

This can be easily treated.  Please tell your nurse if you experience any of these symptoms.

Blood clots

A diagnosis of cancer can increase your risk of developing a blood clot (thrombosis), and having cancer treatment may increase this risk further.  It is important to tell your doctor immediately if you have symptoms such as pain, redness and swelling in your leg, or breathlessness and chest pain.  

Blood clots can be very serious.  However, most clots can usually be successfully treated with drugs to thin the blood.  Your doctor or nurse can give you more information.

Other side effects and information

You may get headaches whilst on this treatment.  Try taking whatever painkillers you would normally take.  If these do not work please contact Velindre Cancer Centre or your GP for advice.

It is important you do not become pregnant or father a child whilst having this treatment as it could damage the unborn baby.  

Changes in the way your heart works 

This is rare.  It is most likely to affect people who have heart disease, or who've had radiation to the chest or some types of chemotherapy such as doxorubicin or epirubicin.  Let your doctor know if you have chest pain, difficulty breathing or ankle swelling as these could be signs that bevacizumab is affecting your heart. 

Slow wound healing  

Wounds may take longer to heal while you are having treatment with bevacizumab. 

Bowel perforation

A small number of patients can develop a small hole in the wall of the bowel (perforation).  This is rare, but if you develop any abdominal pain or swelling contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice.

Sometimes cancer drugs can have very serious side effects which rarely can be life threatening. It is important to inform Velindre cancer centre if you are concerned about any side-effects.

A diagnosis of cancer can increase your risk of developing a blood clot (thrombosis), and having cancer treatment may increase this risk further.  It is important to tell your doctor immediately if you have symptoms such as pain, redness and swelling in your leg, or breathlessness and chest pain.  

Blood clots can be very serious.  However, most clots can usually be successfully treated with drugs to thin the blood.  Your doctor or nurse can give you more information

Manufacturer’s patient information leaflets

Velindre leaflets provide information about very common and commonly reported side-effects (we are unable to list all of the common side effects), for more information regarding these and the less common side-effects please refer to the manufacturers patient information leaflets, obtained from Velindre pharmacy and/or on the internet at Sometimes patients may find these leaflets difficult to read however. Please ask if you would like a copy from your doctor or from Velindre pharmacy

Contact telephone numbers

Velindre Cancer Centre 029 2061 5888

Ask for the treatment helpline if you are unwell at home and need immediate advice at any time of the day or night. For example you should phone if you:

  • Have diarrhoea

Pharmacy department 029 2061 5888 ext 6223

Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm for queries about your medicines

Tenovus freephone 0808 808 1010

cancer support line 

Macmillan freephone Helpline 0808 808 0000


This information is available in Welsh

This leaflet was written by health professionals.  The information contained in this leaflet is evidence based.  It has been approved by doctors, nurses and patients.  It is reviewed and updated every 2 years.