Coronavirus and cancer

We know it’s a worrying time for people with cancer, we have information to help. If you have symptoms of cancer contact your doctor.

Read our information about coronavirus and cancer

Decorative image

CHOP

Find out what CHOP is, how you have it and other important information about having CHOP. 

CHOP is the name of a combination of cancer drugs used to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). It is made up of the drugs:

  • cyclophosphamide
  • doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
  • vincristine (Oncovin)
  • prednisolone, which is a steroid

How it works

These chemotherapy drugs destroy quickly dividing cells, such as cancer cells.

How you have it

You have cyclophosphamide, vincristine and doxorubicin into your bloodstream (intravenously). You have prednisolone (steroid) as tablets you take with or after food. 

Drugs into your bloodstream

You have the treatment through a drip into your arm or hand. A nurse puts a small tube (a cannula) into one of your veins and connects the drip to it.

You might need a central line. This is a long plastic tube that gives the drugs into a large vein, either in your chest or through a vein in your arm. It stays in while you’re having treatment, which may be for a few months.

Taking your tablets

You must take tablets according to the instructions your doctor or pharmacist gives you.

You should take the right dose, not more or less.

Talk to your specialist or advice line before you stop taking a cancer drug.

When you have it

You have CHOP chemotherapy in cycles of treatment. Each cycle of treatment lasts 21 days (3 weeks). You may have 6 to 8 cycles of treatment in total.

You have each cycle in the following way:

Day 1
  • You have cyclophosphamide as a drip into your bloodstream (intravenously) over 30 minutes
  • You have doxorubicin as a slow injection into your vein
  • You have vincristine as a drip into your bloodstream over 5 minutes
  • You take prednisolone tablets
Day 2 to day 5
  • You take prednisolone tablets
Day 6 to day 21
  • You have no treatment

You then start the next cycle of treatment.  

Tests

You have blood tests before and during your treatment. They check your levels of blood cells and other substances in the blood. They also check how well your liver and kidneys are working.

Side effects

Important information

Other medicines, food and drink

Cancer drugs can interact with some other medicines and herbal products. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you are taking. This includes vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies.

Pregnancy and contraception

This treatment might harm a baby developing in the womb. It is important not to become pregnant or father a child while you're having treatment and for a few months afterwards. Talk to your doctor or nurse about effective contraception before starting treatment.

Fertility

You may not be able to become pregnant or father a child after treatment with this drugs. Talk to your doctor before starting treatment if you think you may want to have a baby in the future.

Men might be able to store sperm before starting treatment. And women might be able to store eggs or ovarian tissue. But these services are not available in every hospital, so you would need to ask your doctor about this.    

Breastfeeding

Don’t breastfeed during this treatment because the drugs may come through in your breast milk.

Treatment for other conditions

Always tell other doctors, nurses, pharmacists or dentists that you’re having this treatment if you need treatment for anything else, including teeth problems.

Immunisations

Don’t have immunisations with live vaccines while you’re having treatment and for up to 12 months afterwards. The length of time depends on the treatment you are having. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how long you should avoid live vaccinations.

In the UK, live vaccines include rubella, mumps, measles, BCG, yellow fever and the shingles vaccine (Zostavax).

You can:

  • have other vaccines, but they might not give you as much protection as usual
  • have the flu vaccine (as an injection)

Contact with others who have had immunisations - You can be in contact with other people who have had live vaccines as injections. Avoid close contact with people who have recently had live vaccines taken by mouth (oral vaccines) such as the oral typhoid vaccine.

If your immune system is severely weakened, you should avoid contact with children who have had the flu vaccine as a nasal spray. This is for 2 weeks following their vaccination.

Babies have the live rotavirus vaccine. The virus is in the baby’s poo for about 2 weeks and could make you ill if your immunity is low. Get someone else to change their nappies during this time if you can. If this isn't possible, wash your hands well after changing their nappy.

More information about this treatment

For further information about this treatment go to the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC) website.

You can report any side effect you have to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) as part of their Yellow Card Scheme.

Last reviewed: 
12 Mar 2018
  • Electronic Medicines Compendium 

    Accessed March 2018

  • CHOP 21 +/- Rituximab for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)
    South East London NHS Cancer Network, 2011

  • Comparison of a standard regimen (CHOP) with three intensive chemotherapy regimens for advanced Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
    R Fisher and others
    The New England Journal of Medicine, 1993. ​Vol 328, issue 14. pages 1002-1006

  • Comparison of a second-generation combination chemotherapeutic regimen (m-BACOD) with a standard regimen (CHOP) for advanced diffuse Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
    L Gordon and others
    The New England Journal of Medicine, 1992. Vol. 327, number 19, pages 1342-1349

Information and help