Chemotherapy cost in United Kingdom

Treatment and Cost

21

Total Days
In Country

2 No. Travelers

1 Day in Hospital

20 Days Outside Hospital

Treatment cost starts from

USD 41500

Hospitals

About the Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a category of standardized drug administration of various types for the treatment of cancer. With a curative intent, some combinations of drugs are administered to a patient to prolong their life and also to bring about a reduction in the symptoms shown by the patient. Chemotherapy treatment is considered to be one of the major categories of medical oncology. Many people around the world are prescribed to undergo chemotherapy treatment instead of undergoing a surgical procedure. But many are frightened with the side effects of this treatment as it is believed to reduce the quality of life of the patients.

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a procedure where non-specific intracellular poisons are used, which are specifically related to preventing the process of mitosis or the natural cell division of the cancerous cells. This technique rather excludes those agents that are responsible for selective extracellular growth signal blockade (signal transduction blockers). If spoken about these agents used in chemotherapy, it has been found that most of them are cytotoxic in nature due to their property of interfering with natural mitosis. However, the cells of cancer can differ widely in terms of showing susceptibility to these administered agents.

Chemotherapy can be defined as a way of mass destruction of stress cells, which would eventually lead to the death of the cells when apoptosis is initiated. The commonly known side effects of chemotherapy can be traced back to the process of damaging normal non-cancerous cells, which are in the process of rapid division. They are sensitive to anti-mitotic drugs that are being administered to the patient and such cells may include the cells of the hair follicles, digestive tract lining, and bone marrow. But nowadays treatment options have undergone a lot of modification by which these side effects can be well countered.

Types of Chemotherapy Drugs

Various options of drugs are available to treat different types of cancer including the following:

Alkylating agents: These kinds of agents prove to be extremely beneficial during the cell’s resting phase. The various kinds of alkylating agents that are employed in chemotherapy treatment include the following:

  • Mustard gas derivatives: Cyclophosphamide, mechlorethamine, chlorambucil, ifosfamide, melphalan
  • Ethylenimines: Thiotepa and hexamethylmelamine
  • Alkylsulfonates: Busulfan
  • Metal salts: Oxaliplatin, cisplatin, and carboplatin
  • Nitrosoureas: Streptozocin, lomustine, carmustine

Nitrosoureas are unique from the rest for choices in chemotherapy treatment due to their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and treating tumors of the brain.

Plant alkaloids: Plant alkaloids employed for chemotherapy treatment are derived from plants.  These include vinca alkaloids, taxanes, podophyllotoxins, and camptothecan analogs. The plant alkaloids are cell cycle specific agents, which enables them to attack the dividing cells in various stages of their division cycle.

Antimetabolites: This kind of chemotherapy treatment involves substances that are similar in composition to the normal substances present in the cell. When these substances get incorporated in the process of cellular metabolism, then the cell is no longer able to divide. They are also cell cycle specific and can be classified further according to the substance in the cell with which they interfere.

Topoisomerase inhibitors: When the topoisomerase enzymes in the body ( topoisomerase I and II) are inhibited as a result of chemotherapy drugs, then those drugs are referred to as topoisomerase inhibitors. During the chemotherapy, the topoisomerase enzymes are responsible for controlling structural manipulation of the DNA which is necessary for the purpose of replication.

Miscellaneous antineoplastics: Different types of drugs make each chemotherapy treatment process unique. Enzymes, retinoids, adrenocortical steroid inhibitor, ribonucleotide reductase inhibitor or antimicrotubule agents can be used as chemotherapy drugs.

How is Chemotherapy performed?

Some of the chemotherapy drugs are involved in damaging the cell at the time of splitting while others do their jobs when the gene copies are being made by the cell prior to division. The cells that are in resting phase are very less likely to get damaged. Different kind of drugs damage the cells at different stages and hence a combination of various drugs will increase the chance of damaging more number of cancer cells.

Chemotherapy drugs can be given in a variety of ways. At times due to the destructive nature of stomach enzymes, some of the drugs are impossible to administer as pills. While for other drugs the effects are better realized when administered intravenously. Some of them can be injected into muscles while other can be given directly to the abdominal cavity and bladder directly.

Ways to administer Chemotherapy Medications 

Oral chemo medications:

They are administered orally and are available in various forms such as liquids, tablets, capsules, and pill. All these forms can be absorbed by the stomach or under the tongue. The protective coating around them is broken down by digestive juices of the stomach and then the medication is directly absorbed by the lining of the stomach. There are some which have a certain amount of time delay between the administration and the actual release of the medicine.

Subcutaneous injection:

With the help of a short needle, the drug is administered into the region between the muscle and skin but it does not penetrate as far as the layer of muscles. They are used for some biologic response modifiers and support drugs of chemotherapy. If the platelet count of the patient is low, then it is less likely that such injections can cause any bleeding more than that in case if it was an intra muscular injection.

Intramuscular chemo injections:

In this case, the injection penetrates the muscle layer and a large needle has to be used for this so that the medication gets deposited in the tissues of the muscle. Most chemotherapy cannot be implemented via intramuscular injection owing to its harshness. People with low platelet counts are not advised with this due to the possibility of bleeding within the muscle.

Intravenous chemo treatments:

This also gets absorbed rapidly in the circulation system in the body. It offers more flexibility, thus making it more common. Continuous infusions are ensured through this method for days and weeks if required. Some of the types of intravenous infusions include the following:

  • Angiocatheter:  A line is established in the arm or hand and infusions can be continued for few minutes to few days.
  • PICC line:  It is considered temporary but the stretch can continue for 6 weeks to a few months. The long plastic catheter is placed in one of the larger veins of the arm. It can be done by fixing it with a portable pump even at home.
  • Non-tunnelled catheters:  Through the skin, the sub clavian or the jugular vein is accessed and the line goes through the superior vena cava to the right atrium of the heart. They are used as short-term option during emergencies. Careful maintenance and regular dressing change are required in these cases.
  • Tunneled catheters:  This catheter goes through the middle of the chest, going past the subcutaneous tissue reaching the superior vena cava vessel entering the right atrium of the heart. They can be even left for years with little chances of infection. They can have multiple lumens for infusions and good for extensive therapy like the bone marrow transplant procedure.
  • Port-a-cath:  Chemo port or Port-a-cath act as a permanent option. It is usually placed by a surgeon or a radiologist. The lifetime of this can vary from three to five years. Dressing changes are not required but maintenance may be required for this at home.
Intraventricular chemo treatments:

In this procedure, the drugs are meant to reach the cerebrospinal fluid. The blood-brain barrier stops many drugs to reach it and hence in two ways it can be done; one is the lumbar puncture and the other is Ommaya reservoir. A dome-shaped device with a catheter attached is placed in the subcutaneous layer on the scalp. It is threaded to the lateral ventricle of the brain. A small needle is placed through the ommaya reservoir to inject drugs. This is good for chemotherapy for leukemia.

Intraperitoneal chemo treatment:

In this case, the drug can be directly drained into the abdominal cavity, the general cavity surrounding the organs. The organs, as a result, get bathed in the medication before it gets absorbed into the tumor site.

Intra arterial chemo treatments

Here the drug is given directly to the artery supplying blood to a tumor. This kind of treatment is beneficial for colon cancer, limb melanoma, pancreatic cancer, gastric cancer, and some other forms of cancer.

Intravesicular chemo treatments:

A urinary catheter is used to access the urinary bladder and useful for people suffering from superficially invasive bladder cancer.

Intrapleural chemo treatments:

This is the chemotherapy for lung cancer where the drug is administered in the pleural cavity to control malignant pleural effusions and used for symptom relief.

Implantable chemotherapy treatment

A gliadel wafer can be placed in the cavity after removal of tumor in the brain. It can be left for 2 or 3 weeks to ensure that all cancer cells are finally killed in the area surrounding the brain tumor site.

Topical chemo treatments:

In this case, a cream is applied to the skin and used to treat cancerous lesions on the skin itself. Not used very commonly but used for treating skin cancer.

Recovery from Chemotherapy

  • For patients who can tolerate a high dose of drugs, chemotherapy cycle is carried out in a single go after every three weeks.
  • For patients who are not expected to tolerate a high dose of drugs, the same cycle is split into two or three light doses, which are administered at an interval of a week.
  • The platelet and white blood cells count may drop after each cycle of chemotherapy, which usually recovers on its own if proper diet is maintained. Some patients may experience loss of appetite. It is important for them and all other patients to take plenty of fluids and plain water to recover after chemotherapy. This will reduce fatigue, weakness, and joint pain while restoring the platelet and WBC count.
  • Patients are advised to take the emergency medicine prescribed by the doctor in case they experience pain, vomiting, nausea, or general sickness. Inform the specialist immediately in case of any adverse reactions.

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the factors affecting the cost of Chemotherapy in the United Kingdom?

Different hospitals have different pricing policy when it comes to the cost of Chemotherapy in the United Kingdom. The Chemotherapy package cost usually includes all the expenses related to pre and post surgery expenses of the patient. The Chemotherapy cost in the United Kingdom includes the cost of anesthesia, medicines, hospitalization and the surgeon's fee. Extended hospital stay, complications after the surgery or new diagnosis may affect the overall cost of Chemotherapy in the United Kingdom.

Which are some of the best clinics in the United Kingdom for Chemotherapyt?

There are many hospitals that perform Chemotherapy in the United Kingdom. For quick reference, the following are some of the leading hospitals for Chemotherapy in the United Kingdom:

  1. Parkside Private Hospital
  2. Cancer Centre London
  3. Rutherford Cancer Center, South Wales
How many days does it take to recover post Chemotherapy in the United Kingdom?

After Chemotherapy in the United Kingdom, the patient is supposed to stay in guest house for another 21 days. This duration of stay is recommended to complete all the necessary follow-ups and control tests to ensure that the surgery was successful.

Which are some of the other popular destinations for Chemotherapy?

While the United Kingdom is considered to be one of the best destinations for Chemotherapy owing to the standard of Hospitals, and expertise of doctors; there are a select few destinations which provide comparable quality of healthcare for the procedure Some of such countries are:

CountryCost
IndiaUSD 500
IsraelUSD 7000
MalaysiaUSD 1800
SingaporeUSD 1500
SpainUSD 7500
ThailandUSD 2500
TurkeyUSD 1250
United Arab EmiratesUSD 4200
How much are the other expenses in the United Kingdom apart from the cost of Chemotherapy?

Apart from the Chemotherapy cost, there are a few other daily charges that the patient may have to pay. These are the charges for daily meals and accommodation outside the hospital. The extra charges may start from USD 50 per person.

Which are the best cities in the United Kingdom for Chemotherapy Procedure?

There are many cities that offer Chemotherapy in the United Kingdom, including the following:

  1. Norfolk
  2. Bristol
  3. Kensington
  4. London
How many days does one have to spend in the hospital for Chemotherapy in the United Kingdom?

After the Chemotherapy takes place, the average duration of stay at the hospital is about 1 days. The doctors team review the patient's recovery during this time with the help of blood tests and imaging scans. Once they feel that everything is on track, the patient is discharged.

How many hospitals offer Chemotherapy in the United Kingdom?

There are more than 3 hospitals that offer Chemotherapy in the United Kingdom. These clinics have propoer infrastructure as well as offer good quality of services when it comes to Chemotherapy Apart from good services, the hospitals are known to follow all standard and legal guidelines as dictated by the local medical affairs body or organization.

Who are the best doctors for Chemotherapy in the United Kingdom?

Some of the renowned medical specialists for Chemotherapy in the United Kingdom are:

  1. Dr. Alexandre Chung
  2. Dr. Muireann Kelleher
  3. Dr. Ian Smith
  4. Dr. Paul Roblin
  5. Dr. Paul Carter
  6. Dr. Barry Powell

FAQ's Related to United Kingdom

What healthcare accreditation standards are followed in the United Kingdom?

In the United Kingdom, the healthcare systems follow standards set by QHA Trent and United Kingdom Accreditation Forum. Formed with a vision to improve healthcare quality in Great Britain, QHA Trent strives to lower risks for healthcare providers, patients, and the general public. Various accreditation programs are integrated with regulatory bodies and other inspection and improvement processes so that service providers and service users get a mechanism which supports quality improvement. The accreditation bodies have a comprehensive framework for evaluating healthcare facilities and some of the quality aspects are administrative management, patient care, and performance management.

Why should I opt for healthcare in the United Kingdom?

The United Kingdom is considered one of the leading destinations in the world for seeking treatment due to its modern infrastructure and major medical advancements. In the last few years, the country has seen tremendous growth in the medical tourism industry, mostly due to more investment in technology and communication and transport. The healthcare system in the United Kingdom is on par with all other developed countries and has some unique features like appointments and same-day diagnosis, rapid response multi-disciplinary review teams, and emerging treatments. Some of the internationally acclaimed institutions in the United Kingdom are London Bridge Hospital, BUPA Cromwell, and Great Ormond Street which are supported by highly professional consultants and all modern facilities.

What is the quality of medical specialists in the United Kingdom?

The United Kingdom boasts of a large pool of world-class doctors who are much competent and skilled in their specialty area. They have to undergo mandatory rigorous training to achieve the highest level of excellence in their niche. The country boasts of having high-quality doctors of internal standards and most of them have received education at reputed institutions. The doctors perform some procedures like knee replacement, gallbladder removal, and hip replacement with a high success rate, ensuring complete patient safety and speedy recovery. The United Kingdom is also known to have world-class gynecologists, orthopedic doctors, cardiologists, and neurologists who have reported high success rates through their holistic approach of treatment.

How to obtain a medical visa in the United Kingdom?

Depending on the country you are from, you may be able to visit the United Kingdom without a visa or by applying for a visa waiver. Electronic UK visa waiver program is available for countries like Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates. The documents required for applying for a medical visa include:

  1. Passport
  2. Visa fee receipt
  3. Two passport size photographs of the candidate
  4. Civil status of the candidate traveling
  5. Travel details
  6. Medical prescription signed by a registered medical practitioner
  7. A letter of acceptance from the doctor
  8. An estimate of stay period.

You can extend your stay period by 6 months if you require further treatment.

Which are the popular multispecialty hospital groups in United Kingdom?

United Kingdom is a leading therapeutic center with many premium hospital groups as listed below:

  1. Royal Berkshire NHS Hospital
  2. The Portland Hospital
  3. BUPA Cromwell Hospital
  4. The Queens Square Private Hospital
  5. Royal Brompton Private Care
  6. King Edwards VII's Hospital
  7. The London Clinic
  8. London Bridge Hospital
  9. Priory Hospital London

Equipped with all modern facilities, the hospitals offer a large number of procedures in modern surroundings, supported by well-trained doctors. Several other factors make these hospitals popular, such as a wide variety of food options, patient-centric care, low mortality rate, and high success rates, efficiency of doctors and other healthcare staff, and safety aspects. There are a few rankings systems that you can check to find the best hospitals in the United Kingdom. The top-ranked hospital Royal Berkshire NHS Hospital is at the 67th position in the world. The inspection ratings is also given by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

What are the popular procedures available in the United Kingdom?

The United Kingdom has received worldwide recognition for its excellence in procedures like:

  1. Radiation therapy
  2. Knee Replacement
  3. Hip Replacement
  4. Chemotherapy
  5. Immunotherapy

Breast augmentation and breast reductions are the top two surgical procedures in the country according to the BAAPS audit results. With recent developments in cancer care technology, the United Kingdom has been recognized as a leading country for effective cancer treatment. The United Kingdom attracts a large number of people for hip replacement. Around 50,000 hip replacement surgeries are performed in the United Kingdom every year.

Which are the most popular cities in the United Kingdom for medical treatment?

The most popular cities that are preferred by medical tourists in the United Kingdom are:

  1. Oxford
  2. Manchester
  3. York
  4. London
  5. Cambridge
  6. Edinburgh
  7. Inverness
  8. Belfast

Edgbaston Medical Quarter in Birmingham offers some of the best places for treatment, particularly in trauma, oncology, diabetes, and fertility and has become the most visited place for medical tourists to seek treatment. One of the popular cities for seeking treatment, Birmingham boasts state-of-art infrastructure, reputed hospitals, better connectivity, and skilled doctors. London is considered a hub of healthcare in the United Kingdom with a large pool of top-class hospitals offering a large number of procedures with a high success rate.

Is it mandatory to take vaccinations before going to the United Kingdom?

Yes, vaccines are recommended or required for the United Kingdom. The CDC and WHO recommend the below vaccines for the country:

  1. Hepatitis A
  2. Hepatitis B
  3. Rabies
  4. Meningitis
  5. Polio
  6. Measles
  7. Mumps and rubella (MMR)
  8. Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis
  9. Chickenpox
  10. Shingles
  11. Pneumonia and influenza

You must get vaccinated at least 8 weeks prior to the date of travel. If you have a specific medical condition that prevents you from getting vaccinated, the same will be contraindicated by a medical practitioner. Connect with the government official or contact your hospital in the United Kingdom to get complete information on vaccination.