Liverpool Head & Neck Centre


What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy simply means ‘drug treatment’ and aims to cure cancer or relieve any symptoms that cancer can cause. It can be used alone, with surgery, with radiotherapy, or as a mixture with both surgery and radiotherapy.

How does chemotherapy work?

Chemotherapy either kills cancer cells or stops their ability to multiply. In the same way that different bacteria are sensitive to different antibiotics, different cancers are sensitive to different types of chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy reaches the cancer cells through the blood stream. Following each dose of chemotherapy, a proportion of the cells will be destroyed. Usually, patients are given a number of cycles of chemotherapy in order to destroy as many of the cancer cells as possible, but the maximum benefit from the treatment is normally reached after 3-6 months.

As the number of cancer cells reduces, the natural defence mechanisms of your body may also play their part in destroying cancer cells.

Chemotherapy clinics

We are committed to bringing cancer services closer to our patients.

We have several chemotherapy clinics located in hospitals throughout Cheshire and Merseyside as well as at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre - Wirral.

Inpatient care is delivered seven days a week to patients undergoing chemotherapy.

As all cancer treatments are designed around individual patients, your consultant will talk you through your chemotherapy treatment process and answer any questions that you might have.

Side effects

Cancer chemotherapy produces different reactions in different people. Reactions may also vary from treatment to treatment. Since most side effects are temporary, they will gradually disappear when your treatment is complete.

For more information about your chemotherapy treatment, speak to your nurse or consultant or download the Chemotherapy General Booklet from our patient leaflets section.