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Understanding Your Chemotherapy

Providing compassionate, safe, high quality care

Your health and safety are important to us at the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency. We encourage you to ask questions about your care and treatment throughout your cancer journey. The following information may help you to better understand what to expect during chemotherapy at the Allan Blair Cancer Centre and Saskatoon Cancer Centre.

Bring Support
We want to ensure you are comfortable and supported during treatment. We encourage you to bring your primary support person along to your treatments. Due to limited space and for the safety and privacy of everyone, we can only accommodate one support person in the treatment area.

Plan a Ride Home
During your treatment you may receive medications that can temporarily impair your ability to drive. Please have someone drive you to and from your treatment. If you are unable to arrange a ride, please ask to speak with a social worker and they will do their best to assist you.

Tell Your Healthcare Team How You are Feeling
To help ensure we are delivering the best care for you please let the nurse or a member of your care team know if you have had any changes in your health when you come for your treatment. This could include any fever, cough, cold, vomiting, persistent diarrhea or constipation, any doctors’ visits, hospitalizations, changes to your medications including antibiotics, or other health concerns.

Arrive on Time for Appointments
Your healthcare team is working very hard to safely and appropriately schedule your treatment. While we try to accommodate reasonable requests for appointment changes, this may not always be possible. Please arrive on time for your treatment. If you are unable to attend your appointment, please call us as soon as possible.

Waiting for Treatment
Your chemotherapy is tailored just for you. As chemotherapy drugs are very expensive pharmacists need to make sure your treatment is prepared correctly the first time and that orders have not been changed. Your patience and understanding is greatly appreciated while you wait for treatment.

Your Safety Matters
We want to  be sure you understand your treatment, so please ask your nurse questions or share any concerns you have. Your nurse will review any potential side effects or adverse reactions with you before beginning your treatment. During your chemotherapy,  you will be carefully monitored. For your safety we ask that you do not leave the chemotherapy area during your treatments.

Snacks and Meals
Depending on the time of your treatment, we recommend you have a light breakfast or lunch. As the cancer centres are outpatient facilities, meals are not provided but our volunteers will come by during the day with coffee, tea, juice and cookies. As we ask that you not leave the chemotherapy area during your treatment please make arrangements for your support person to purchase lunch if you decide to use the cafeteria. You may also bring your own food but we are not able to store or heat it.

Bring Something to Occupy Your Time During Treatment
Treatment times vary greatly depending on your regimen. You may want to bring a book to help pass the time. We also have Wi-Fi available should you wish to bring your own electronic device. Please ask a member of your care team for the password.

Arranging Your Blood Tests
Throughout your care you will need blood tests to ensure it is safe to proceed with treatment. Typically you will be required to have your blood test the day before your treatment. We encourage patients to have their test done in advance at their community lab. In Saskatoon only, you can have your blood test performed by our team in the Phlebotomy department at the Saskatoon Cancer Centre, however you may find it convenient to have your test done at your community lab as well. Please talk to your chemotherapy nurse for further information.

Use of Scented Products
For the comfort and safety of other patients and staff, we ask that you and your support person please not use scented products when you come for your treatment.

Take Care After Your Treatment
Following your treatment you will need to have an oral thermometer at home to monitor for fevers. Your nurse will provide you with information about what to expect following treatment and what signs and symptoms to watch for.

During the week you can call the triage nurse with non-urgent inquiries at 306-655-2662 in Saskatoon or 306-766-2213 in Regina. Calls will be returned based on the urgency of the situation. Please note that the triage line is not monitored after hours or on weekends. For urgent concerns such as a temperature over 38 degrees Celsius proceed to your local emergency department.

Download a copy of Understanding Your Chemotherapy:
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