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What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a treatment for certain types of cancer using anti-cancer or 'cytotoxic' drugs. The drugs help destroy cancer cells (including leukaemia and lymphoma).

Currently over 50 different drugs exist for use in chemotherapy. Drugs can be used individually or combined with others to form what is known as 'combination' chemotherapy.

The type of chemotherapy given can depend on many things including:

  • the type of cancer you have
  • where the cancer is located in your body
  • the microscopic structure of the cancer cells
  • whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body

How does chemotherapy work?

Chemotherapy works by destroying cells that are growing and dividing. The drugs in chemotherapy aims to kill more cancer cells than healthy cells. Chemotherapy does however damage some healthy cells.

How can chemotherapy be given?

Chemotherapy can be given in several different ways, the most usual methods are:

  • By injection into a vein using a drip
  • By mouth as a tablet or liquid
  • Via a small pump, that delivers the chemotherapy through a special line, called a PICC or Hickman line (the pump is carried in a small bag worn around the waist)/

Some virtual 360 degree views of our chemotherapy treatment areas below.

Chemotherapy Day Unit

Rhosyn Day Unit

Rhosyn Day Unit

Velindre Cancer Centre, Velindre Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff, CF14 2TL
Tel: 029 2061 5888