10 things I need to know about chemotherapy - Latest news • Breast Cancer Foundation NZ

10 things I need to know about chemotherapy

1. Chemotherapy comes in different types, not all breast cancer patients will be on the same kind. Each chemotherapy has different side effects and not all symptoms are experienced by everyone.

To find out more about the types of chemo you might be offered click here.

2. The most common form of chemotherapy is intravenous (straight into your vein). You may have a portacath inserted because it’s difficult to access your veins. The portacath is a small medical appliance installed beneath the skin into which the chemo is given.

3. A nurse will administer your chemotherapy in a special clinic or hospital, working closely with your oncologist.

4. A ‘chemo-cycle’ is used to describe a treatment session. Usually, you will have one treatment every two to three weeks, but this depends on the individual.

5. Chemotherapy cycles can take a few hours, but you won’t have to stay in overnight. For some handy tips about how to stay entertained during your chemo click here.

6. Most breast cancer chemotherapy will cause you to lose your hair – this includes your eyebrows, eyelashes and body hair.

7. There is a subsidy for wigs. It can be a good idea to get your wig before you start chemotherapy; this can help you feel more secure as you begin treatment.

8. You might experience nausea after your chemotherapy. Your breast care team will prescribe medication to help prevent it. The Breast Cancer Foundation is currently funding a new clinical trial that will test the availability of a cheap, widely available drug to prevent delayed nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy.

9. It’s a good idea to talk to your boss about working arrangements during your chemotherapy treatment. More often than not they will be willing to be flexible.

10. During your chemotherapy, the nurses are always on hand. If you have any problems or questions you can call your chemo nurse.

If you have any questions about chemotherapy you can call to chat to our lovely BCFNZ nurses on 0800 2268 773.