- Cancer Information
- Cancer treatment
- Chemotherapy treatment explained
- Waiting for chemotherapy
Waiting for chemotherapy
When you have chemotherapy, you may spend a lot of time waiting for health professionals, for blood tests, for test results, for your drugs to be prepared and for the drugs to be given. There are sometimes additional delays because of necessary safety checks, emergencies or the workload of the treatment centre. Many treatment centres will provide biscuits and water, tea and coffee, but it’s a good idea to bring your own water bottle and snacks in case of long delays.
To help pass the time, you may want to:
- read a book or magazine, or listen to music or a podcast, such as The Thing About Cancer
- complete a crossword or other puzzle
- chat with a companion
- write or draw in a journal
- meditate or practise relaxation techniques
- use a laptop, tablet or other electronic device – check with the nurses whether this is okay and if power points are available.
At first, you may feel uncomfortable being around people who are sick because of cancer or their treatment. You may not identify with them. However, many people gain support from others who are receiving chemotherapy at the same time.
I became good friends with a lady who began chemotherapy on the same day as me. We ended up going walking several times a week for 18 months.The companionship was a great support.
|If you smoke, try to quit or cut down before chemotherapy starts as smoking may affect how well the treatment works and make side effects worse. Quitting can be difficult, especially if you’re feeling anxious about the cancer diagnosis and treatment. For support and advice, talk to your doctor, call the Quitline on 13 7848, download the My QuitBuddy app or visit quitnow.gov.au.|
Dr Prunella Blinman, Medical Oncologist, Concord Cancer Centre, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, and Clinical Senior Lecturer, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, NSW; Gillian Blanchard, Oncology Nurse Practitioner, Calvary Mater Newcastle, and Conjoint Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, The University of Newcastle, NSW; Julie Bolton, Consumer; Keely Gordon-King, Psychologist, Cancer Council Queensland, QLD; John Jameson, Consumer; Dr Zarnie Lwin, Medical Oncologist, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, QLD; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Dr Felicia Roncolato, Medical Oncology Staff Specialist, Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre, NSW. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
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Practical advice and support during and after treatment