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The St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust oncology service treats over 500 new patients a year, providing anti-cancer drugs for a range of solid tumours and haematological cancers.

Chemotherapy is treatment with anti-cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells. There are over 50 different drugs. Drugs may be given on their own or several different drugs may be given together. They are carried around the body in the blood stream and destroy the cancer cells by damaging their ability to reproduce. Chemotherapy may be used alone to treat cancer or together with other treatments, such as surgery and/or radiotherapy.

Chemotherapy may be given as an inpatient on Trevor Howell Ward or as a day case patient on the Trevor Howell Chemotherapy Day Unit. It is given by specialist chemotherapy nurses. Patients receiving oral chemotherapy will be given an oral chemotherapy diary for them to assess their side effects and know when to telephone for advice.

Patients attending the Trevor Howell Chemotherapy Day Unit may be at the hospital for several hours. There are treatment chairs in the unit and an extra chair for a relative or friend. Light refreshments are available.

Chemotherapy for some haematological cancers are given on the Ruth Myles day unit.

At St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust there is a high level of specialist pharmacy support for the oncology service and there is also a highly regarded Intrathecal Chemotherapy service (where chemotherapy is given into the fluid around the spinal cord during a lumbar puncture).