Cancer drugs A to Z list

There are many cancer drugs, cancer drug combinations and they have individual side effects.

How you have cancer drugs

You can have cancer drugs in different ways. For how long you have it will depend on the drug you have and your type of cancer. Always take your medicines safely.

Side effects of cancer drugs

Cancer drugs have side effects and these can vary from person to person. But there are things that you can do to help you cope.

DPD deficiency

Having a DPD deficiency could make the side effects of the chemotherapy drugs fluorouracil and capecitabine worse.

Aspirin and cancer

Aspirin might lower the risk of getting some cancers, cancer spreading or people dying from it. But we need to learn more from research that is currently ongoing.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 is an infectious illness caused by a type of coronavirus. Some people with cancer are at a higher risk of complications because they have a weakened immune system.

Biosimilar medicines

A biosimilar medicine is a highly similar copy of an existing drug. Your doctor may suggest you have a biosimilar medicine.

Flu vaccine and cancer treatment

Cancer or its treatment can lower your resistance to infection and make you more likely to catch flu. The flu vaccination makes it less likely that you will catch flu. 

Immunisations and cancer treatment

Your resistance to infection can sometimes be low if you have or have recently had some cancer treatments. There are some vaccinations you shouldn't have when you have low immunity because they could make you feel very ill. 

Last reviewed: 
03 Jul 2023
Next review due: 
03 Jul 2026

Page Credits: 

This section is written, reviewed and updated by Cancer Research UK’s Patient Information Web Team. Thanks to the expert cancer pharmacists.

  • Amrit Atwal, Haematology and Oncology Pharmacist at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
  • Lucy Cox, Specialist oncology pharmacist Cancer Research UK information lead
  • Elizabeth Davies, Consultant Pharmacist Haematology, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
  • Alia Nizam, Specialist oncology pharmacist Cancer Research UK information lead
  • Jo Parkes, Advanced Clinical Practitioner in Oncology and Lead Specialist Pharmacist Practitioner at Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust
  • Poonam Patel, Lead Pharmacist – Private Care, The Royal Marsden Hospital, London
  • Michal Sladkowski, Advanced Oncology Pharmacist at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust