• MenuClose

Chemotherapy and cancer drugs

treatment icon

Treatment for:

Chemotherapy is a powerful medicine that destroys cancer cells and may be given alone or with other treatments.

  • Our consultants use a range of drugs to treat cancer, including chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and immunotherapy
  • Chemotherapy can be especially effective against cancer that has spread (metastatic or advanced cancer)
  • It can be combined with other treatments like radiotherapy or surgery

Birmingham Prostate Clinic are a team of leading urologists and oncologists, who specialise in diagnosing and treating prostate, bladder and kidney conditions.

Navigating cancer treatment is challenging for anyone. That’s why our dedicated team of specialists, oncologists and advanced nurses will guide you every step of the way.

Our consultants have comprehensive care pathways for urological cancers, from initial diagnosis all the way through treatment and beyond. If needed, we can also directly refer you for the latest radiotherapy treatments through our partnership with GenesisCare.

Book an appointment

It’s time to get you the treatment plan you need. Our expert consultants are available for appointments to discuss your condition and the medical care that can help.

Enquire now

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is an anti-cancer drug. There are many kinds of chemotherapies – some kill cancer cells outright, while others stop them from growing and multiplying. 

In recent years, we’ve seen a lot of improvement in chemotherapy. Newer chemotherapies are more effective and delivered to cells in smarter ways, making them easier for the body to tolerate compared to other chemotherapies in the last decades.

When is chemotherapy used?

If and when you receive chemotherapy depends on the type of cancer you have and its stage. Chemotherapy can be particularly useful for treating cancer that has spread around the body (metastatic or advanced). 

Chemotherapy can destroy cancer cells, stop it from coming back or relieve symptoms if a cure isn’t possible. It can also be given along with other therapies, like surgery and radiation, to make them more effective.

Chemotherapy for bladder cancer

A combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy can be effective against bladder cancer, offering an alternative or complement to surgery.

Chemotherapy for prostate cancer

In high-risk prostate cancer, a combined approach of chemotherapy, hormone treatment and radiotherapy can have comparable outcomes to surgery. It may also be the best treatment option if your prostate cancer has spread elsewhere in the body.

Chemotherapy for kidney cancer

Chemotherapy usually isn’t used for kidney cancer because most cases are resistant to it. Our consultants use a full range of other treatments, including biologic drugs and external beam radiotherapy, that can be effective against kidney cancer.

What are other cancer drugs and how do they work?

Beside chemotherapy, there are other effective anti-cancer drugs, including hormone therapy and immunotherapy.

Hormone therapy

Many cancers use hormones to grow. Hormone therapy blocks the hormones the cancer needs, stopping it from growing and dividing.  

Medicine that lowers testosterone can be particularly effective against prostate cancer, especially when combined with radiotherapy. 


Cancer cells have a knack for hiding or escaping from your immune system. Immunotherapy helps your immune system find and attach cancer cells more effectively. This category includes drugs called biologics and targeted therapies. 

Immunotherapy has shown promise against cancers like kidney cancer and prostate cancer.

Why choose Birmingham Prostate Clinic?

We are a leading group of urological and cancer experts with a seamless patient pathway for personalised treatments.

Our team is made up of some of the top consultants for kidney, prostate and bladder cancers. Our consultants have access to complete personalised care pathways for you, including onward referrals to GenesisCare if needed.

What to expect during chemotherapy

There are a few different ways to receive chemotherapy. The main methods are through an intravenous (IV) drip or orally in tablet form. 

Chemotherapy is usually given via an IV inserted into a vein in your arm or hand. A nurse will gently place a needle at the beginning of each session and remove it at the end. A session might last a few minutes or several hours. 

Alternatively, you might have a catheter or port implanted that stays in place throughout your entire chemotherapy regimen. This can make it easier to deliver treatment, but you’ll have to look after it carefully. 

Most of the time, you’ll receive chemotherapy in hospital. Sometimes, a pump attached to your port or catheter will be used to deliver chemotherapy continuously over several days from your home. 

Chemotherapy is usually given in multiple rounds, with breaks in between sessions to let your body recover. A full course of chemotherapy can take several months. 

What are the risks of chemotherapy?

While chemotherapy is attacking cancer cells, it also inadvertently kills some of your healthy cells. This causes some of the unpleasant side effects chemotherapy is well known for. These can include:

  • Feeling tired
  • Nausea and being sick
  • Hair loss
  • Infections
  • A sore mouth
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Digestive problems like diarrhoea or constipation

Side effects can be challenging, but they usually subside once treatment ends. We can help relieve some of the symptoms to make it easier to cope. 

When might chemotherapy not be the best option?

Some cancers respond better to chemotherapy than others. For example, most cases of kidney cancer are resistant. In those cases, your doctor will recommend a different treatment path for your situation. 

Your overall health and fitness level also play a big role in deciding whether chemotherapy is right for you. We’ll give you a thorough check-up when we create your treatment plan.

It’s always essential for you and your doctor to consider the risks and benefits before making any treatment choices.

Reviewed by

How can we help?

Get in touch with our friendly team to find out more about tests or treatment, or to book an appointment with an expert consultant near you.