What to Expect with Chemotherapy

Preparing for Your First Appointment

Medical Oncologist
Prior to your first visit with us you will have seen a medical oncologist who has developed your treatment plan. That plan has been sent to our outpatient oncology nurses who will administer your treatment.

Medical Records
If possible, you will need to bring pathology reports, x-ray reports, history & physical, operative reports (if surgery has been performed) and discharge summaries. Please bring a list of your current medications as well; this includes any vitamins or herbal supplements you may be taking.

Insurance Card

Your insurance information will be verified prior to your first appointment. Please bring your insurance card(s) with you so that we can photocopy for your records. Your coverage and benefits will be discussed with you before your first visit.

Write down any questions you think of before your first visit, bring a pen and paper with you so that you can take notes during your consultation. If possible, bring a family member or friend with you. You will be receiving a lot of information and it may be helpful to have someone else with you to listen and take notes.

Medical History
After completion of your initial paperwork, one of our outpatient oncology nurses will meet with you to review your medical history and take your vital signs.

Receiving Treatments
Courses of chemotherapy are typically given over a period of three to twelve months. The schedule of your treatments depends on your diagnosis and the medications you are receiving. Chemotherapy is given in cycles that allow your body to rest and regain strength as it builds healthy, new cells. Treatments may be given every day, every week or every few weeks.

Blood Work
Your blood levels will be checked before you are treated or as ordered by your physician. If your blood levels drop too low your doctor may decide to delay your treatment or reduce the dose of your chemotherapy medications.

Length of Treatment
The length of your treatment depends on the medications ordered. It could be as brief as thirty minutes or as long as eight hours. You will be seated in a comfortable recliner with a television for your use. If you would like to bring in relaxing music you are welcome to do so. Family or friends are welcome to come with you for your treatment. If you are here for treatment during lunch hours, we will provide a complimentary meal for you. Family and friends are welcome to visit the hospital cafeteria or Subway kiosk located in the cafeteria.

Follow-up Care
It is also extremely important to schedule regular exams after your treatment is finished to check the continuing effect of your treatment. This may include blood work and x-rays. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also part of following through after your radiation therapy is complete.

It is important to be your own best health advocate. Follow all home care instructions you are given carefully and report any unusual symptoms to your healthcare team.