How is your treatment chosen?

There are many different types of treatment to treat cancer. The treatment advised for you is the best treatment for your cancer and would have been discussed by a number of different specialists.

How will my treatment be given?

Your treatment will be given as a tablet so you can take it at home.It is important you know when to take it, how much to take and if you should take it with food or on an empty stomach.

It is important you let us know if:

  • you are unable to swallow tablets.
  • you are unable to see/read the drug label and provided information.
  • you are unable to open the medication bottles or packets.

When taking your medication:

  • Wash your hands before and after taking the tablets.
  • Do not crush, chew, cut or disrupt the tablets unless otherwise directed.
  • Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice as this may interact with the treatment.
  • Avoid other people handling the medication.
  • Keep in the original package and store as directed in either the fridge or at room temperature.
  • Keep them safe and out of sight and reach of children and pets.

Before each treatment, you will need to have a blood test and see a doctor or nurse who will prescribe your medication.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you forget to take a tablet, skip the missed dose, and take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.If you are sick just after taking the tablet, contact the hospital.Please return any unused tablets to pharmacy.

What side effects can I expect?

Everyone is different. Some people may have no side effects or mild side effects, whilst others may have more severe side effects because of their treatment. This may vary depending on which treatment you receive.

For the side effects relevant for your treatment, please see the drug specific information sheet you will have been given in clinic.It is important for you to be aware of the side effects and to contact us straight away if you need advice, as you may need to stop your tablets for a period of time.

Can I take other medications with my treatment?

You should ensure that the doctor in charge of your treatment is aware of any medications or supplements that you are currently taking. This includes any herbal remedies, vitamins, or probiotics.

Will I be able to work during my treatment?

If you would like to work during your treatment, you should first discuss this with your doctor, but generally if you feel well enough to there is no reason not to. Each person is different, and you may feel different from day-to-day, so it is important to pace yourself.

Will I need to pay for my prescriptions?

Patients receiving treatment for cancer do not have to pay prescription charges if they have a valid exemption certificate or card. Your GP or treating doctor can give you an application form for this. Exemption certificates and cards are valid for five years.

Should I have the flu vaccination?

We recommend that you and those close to you are vaccinated against the flu. You should ideally have a flu vaccination two weeks before starting treatment. This can be done at any time although we advise that you avoid having a flu vaccine in the days just before and after your treatment.

You should not have any live vaccines while you are receiving treatment, such as the shingles vaccine. If you are offered a vaccine and are unsure whether to have it, please ask your nurse or doctor for advice.

Should I have the COVID-19 vaccination?

We recommend that you have the COVID-19 vaccine; however, this should not be given on the same day as your chemotherapy treatment.

What should I do if I feel unwell?

You will be given an alert card with the number for our 24-hour urgent advice line, where you can speak to the team if you are suffering with side effects from your treatment.

Urgent advice telephone line: 020 7472 6367.

Please remember that:;

  • This service is not for checking appointment times or administrative enquiries.
  • If you unable to reach the team, please try again as staff may be busy.
  • If you have a temperature greater than 38ºC (98ºF), or experience new and severe chest pain or breathlessness, you should go straight to your nearest A&E or call 999 if you are unable to travel there safely.

You should contact the hospital if you have new symptoms which are worrying you, or you want advice about ongoing symptoms.You may be advised to attend your local emergency department for blood tests and assessment. Please take your alert card and cancer treatment record book with you.

What can I do to help myself during my treatment?

To ensure that you stay well during your treatment, you should:

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Maintain a balanced diet and try to eat little and often.
  • Continue to maintain as normal a lifestyle as possible, including light exercise.
  • Maintain good mouth hygiene.
  • Avoid sunbathing and exposure to the sun.
  • Call the number on your alert card if you feel unwell or have urgent questions or concerns.
  • Don’t go it alone: talk to family, friends, and your medical team.