This page provides information about receiving anti-cancer drug treatment at the Royal Free London. Your doctor or nurse will have informed you of the type of treatment you are going to receive.

You will need to sign a consent form prior to starting treatment. There will be lots of opportunities to ask your clinical team any questions that you may have.

Some treatments are given as tablets. Some are given intravenously. Either way, you can contact us for advice at any time. 

Some cancer treatments such as immunotherapy use elements of the immune system to help treat the cancer. Immunotherapy activates a person’s own immune system to identify and target their cancer. You may have immunotherapy on its own, or in combination with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

There are different types of immunotherapy. These include monoclonal antibodies, checkpoint inhibitors, vaccines or tumour-infecting viruses. Immunotherapy is now a standard treatment for some types of cancer, and is currently involved in clinical trials for many other types of cancer.

Patient information video

This film has been made to help prepare you for having immunotherapy treatment. It has been created in collaboration with other NHS trusts within the North London Cancer Alliance.

Further information

Read more about preparing for immunotherapy treatment on this page.

Read more about steroids to reduce side effects from immunotherapy in this leaflet.

Chemotherapy is a type of anti-cancer treatment. Chemotherapy drugs disrupt the way cancer cells grow and divide, but they also affect normal cells. These healthy cells can usually repair following damage caused by chemotherapy, but many cancer cells cannot and eventually die.

Because chemotherapy drugs can affect some of the healthy cells in your body, this can cause side effects. Most side effects will go away after treatment finishes. Your chemotherapy treatment may be given on its own, or in combination with other cancer treatments.

Chemotherapy will be given over a set period of time. It is administered in cycles i.e. weekly, fortnightly or three-weekly, over a period of a few months. The length of time taken to administer your treatment will vary depending on which treatment you receive. 

Targeted therapy is a type of anti-cancer treatment. It uses drugs to target specific genes and proteins that help cancer cells survive and grow. They are used to treat many different types of cancer and can be used in combination with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.

Targeted therapies can do different things to the cancer cells they target:

  • block or turn off signals that tell cancer cells to grow and divide 
  • prevent the cells from living longer than normal.
  • destroy cancer cells.

Like other treatments, targeted therapies can cause side effects. These can be more varied than other anti-cancer treatments, but your doctor or specialist nurse will talk to you about them.

If you experience any symptoms or have any concerns relating to side effects from treatment then you should report these to the acute oncology helpline 020 7472 6367, where someone will be able to provide advice. You may be advised to attend A&E if you need urgent assessment, but sometimes simple advice will be all you need.

Intravenous anti-cancer treatment is given at three locations at the Royal Free London.

It is mainly given at Finchley Memorial Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital. A small number of treatments take place at the Royal Free Hospital, in 2NA ward.

Finchley Memorial Hospital Day Unit 
Granville Road
London N12 0JE
Telephone: 020 3758 2379

Chase Farm Hospital Day Unit  
127 The Ridgeway
Enfield EN2 8JL
Telephone: 020 8375 2058, 020 8375 2057.

Our Macmillan cancer information and support specialists are on hand for anyone affected by cancer.

At Maggie's Royal Free, if you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with cancer, you can talk to professional staff or share experiences with others in a similar situation.

Your cancer pathway support guide is for patients and/or their carers, and includes answers to key questions.