Most patients start chemotherapy within 7-10 days of
their initial consult with their physician. Some patients
start chemotherapy the same day of their initial consult.
If you are from the region, your first chemotherapy
treatment is usually given in Thunder Bay.
Wherever possible, future treatments are given as close
to home as possible in one of the 13 regional clinics.
You are treated as an outpatient at the cancer centre
if your treatment length is seven hours or less. For
longer treatments, we will admit you to our dedicated
oncology area, Unit 1A. Click
here to learn more.
- Bring a snack or something to read. You can either
lie on a bed or sit in a chair during treatment. The
staff members in the Chemotherapy Unit are energetic
and fun - they will lift your spirits and help you
Learning About Your Chemotherapy
Prior to the start of your chemotherapy, you can attend a
chemotherapy class. Chemotherapy Information Sessions are
held daily in the Chemotherapy Unit. A nurse will show you
the DVD and explain to you about chemotherapy procedures,
side effects, nutrition and other services in the cancer centre
and the community.
Take the DVD home and watch it with your family members.
This is a good way to let family and friends know what you
will be going through during your treatment. You can also
view our orientation video, which has a specific section on
chemotherapy. Please call (807) 684-7292
for more information or to register for the chemotherapy information
Your Bloodwork Before Chemotherapy
- Go for blood work the day before your chemotherapy,
rather than just prior to your treatment. This will
help us to deliver your treatment on time. Please
note that your chemo may be cancelled if your blood
count is too low.
Your Chemotherapy Appointment
The chemotherapy unit at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences
Centre is located on the third floor of the cancer centre.
The first person you will meet will be one of our nursing
clerks, who will greet you in the reception area.
The pharmacist at the centre will prepare your medication,
and can help answer your questions and advise you on managing
side effects. A chemotherapy nurse administers your treatment.
The nurse will ask you to complete an Edmonton Symptom Assessment
Scale (ESAS) assessment tool prior to starting chemo. This
information is very useful and helps to determine how you
are responding to the treatment. The oncology nurses are very
knowledgeable and caring, and will take the time to explain
the treatments to you. If possible, the same nurse cares for
you during each visit, explains the treatment, possible side
effects and ways to cope.
- Drug information sheets are available to you
to help you better understand what each drug is
for, and will also explain typical side effects.
Ask your chemotherapy nurse for these sheets.