LIST OF PRESCRIBED ITEMS FOR CANCER PATIENTS
The following list is not exhaustive and intended
only to illustrate the range of drugs and treatments for which
cancer patients might be liable to pay prescription charges.
Tamoxifen. Tamoxifen is an anti-oestrogen
drug that arrests/slows the growth of breast cancer cells. It
is typically prescribed to breast cancer patients for five years
Anti-nausea drugs. Nausea and vomiting
are common side effects of both cancer and cancer treatments.
Patients are prescribed anti-nausea drugs (anti-emetics) to counteract
Mouth care treatments. Radiotherapy can
cause dry mouths by retarding saliva production and it is common
for patients to be prescribed drugs to stimulate saliva glands
or else to be prescribed artificial salivas in the form of sprays,
pastilles, gels, or tablets. Some chemotherapy drugs can cause
mouth ulcers for which mouthwashes and other treatments can be
Painkillers. Pain is a common effect
of both cancer and cancer treatments and patients are commonly
prescribed analgesics (painkillers) to relieve pain.
Lymphoedema treatments. Lymphoedema is
the swelling of a limb or other body parts which can be caused
by radiotherapy, surgery to remove lymph nodes, or by the cancer
itself blocking the lymph nodes. Patients are typically prescribed
compression sleeves/stockings or compression bandages to control
Oral chemotherapy. Whilst chemotherapy
is most commonly administered intravenously in hospital, it is
becoming increasingly common for cancer patients to undergo courses
of out-patient chemotherapy by taking prescribed tablets or capsules.
Skin care treatments. Radiotherapy commonly
causes skin burns, soreness and itchiness for which patients may
be prescribed creams or dressings. Scaly or thickened skin is
also a common symptom of lymphoedema and doctors frequently prescribe
moisturisers to treat this.
Impotence drugs. Impotence is a common
side-effect of prostrate cancer treatment for which patients may
be prescribed drugs such as Viagra.
Breathlessness treatments. Breathlessness
is a common symptom if someone's lungs are affected by cancer.
Patients may be prescribed steroids, bronchodilators, sedatives,
and oxygen to treat breathlessness.
Filters for tracheostomy/stoma tubes. People
who have had laryngectomies have to breathe through tracheostomy
or stoma tubes and may be prescribed filters to reduce the risk
Diarrhoea and constipation drugs. Diarrhoea
and constipation are potential side effects of chemotherapy for
which drugs can be prescribed. Constipation is also a side effect
of anti-nausea drugs.
Anti-depressants. Depression is a common
problem encountered by cancer patients and it is common for patients
to be prescribed anti-depressants.