Chemotherapy

Our specialist chemotherapy services provide around 10,000 treatments each year from our range of service locations throughout the region, and via a range of treatment methods such as intravenous, oral and sub-cutaneous injection.

Our daycase services are based around the chemotherapy day unit at The James Cook University Hospital, and Mowbray suite at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton. We also run a growing oral chemotherapy service delivered on an outpatient basis, along with a further daycase service from Darlington Memorial Hospital which we run in conjunction with our colleagues at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

We are proud to say that 94% of patients within the national chemotherapy patient survey for 2013 rated our overall care as either excellent or very good. We scored particularly highly around the information we provide, our treatment plans, and the support we give to not only patients but carers too.

The services we provide have been invested in recently and in recognition of this our base on the chemotherapy day unit was recently awarded the MacMillan Quality Environment Mark (MQEM) which recognises quality and suitability of environment for patients. As part of a similar major trust redevelopment of cancer services the provision of new purpose designed accommodation for teenagers and young adults in patients with cancer has been developed. It comprises a standalone unit within the newly refurbished haematology ward (ward 33).

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy means chemical treatment and is anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drug treatment used to kill cancer cells.

Nurse station in the chemotherapy day unit at James Cook HospitalThis treatment  may be given through the veins (intravenously), via injection into the skin (sub-cutaneously) or as tablets (orally). The chemotherapy that you receive may be one drug given alone or may be several different drugs given together. Chemotherapy may be used with other forms of treatment such as radiotherapy.

Cytotoxic drugs work by interfering with the way cells divide. Cancer cells are rapidly dividing and are therefore more susceptible to damage by these drugs than normal cells.

However, some normal cells are affected and this causes side effects. The normal cells are able to recover during the time between cycles of chemotherapy but the abnormal cancer cells do not.

The chemotherapy drugs are given into, or are absorbed into, the bloodstream, and so go to all areas of the body where there may be cancer cells. A full explanation will be given to you at your consultation.