Questions About Your Treatment
For detailed information about your first chemotherapy treatment, please read our First Visit page. It will help you understand what to expect.
For general information, see the questions and answers below. We are always here to answer other questions you might have at 503-561-6444.
Questions About Your Treatment
What should I bring for my first treatment?
Treatment lengths vary. When you make your first appointment, we will give you an estimated amount of time that you will be here.
Remember to bring:
- Snacks, drinks, and even a lunch if you will be here for an extended period of time. We provide some juices, coffee, hot cocoa, tea and water. We also have some light snacks while you are here.
- Any medications you would normally take during the day, including any pain medicine you may need while you are here. It’s always better to be prepared in the case you may be away from home longer than originally anticipated.
- Something to do. Tablets, laptops, smart phones, books, puzzles and small craft projects can help the time go by. Please bring a headset if you are watching a movie or listening to music.
Should I eat and take my medicine on the day of treatment?
Yes. Please eat breakfast and/or lunch, depending on your treatment time. It’s also important to take your regularly scheduled medicines before you come.
Drink two to three liters of fluid on the day before and the day of your treatment to be well hydrated, unless your doctor has told you otherwise.
What should I wear?
Please wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing and footwear. During your treatment you will be sitting in a recliner chair. We want you to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
If you have had a port placed for treatment, wear a button-up or deep v-neck shirt so your nurse will be able to access it. This will also be more comfortable for you.
Who should I bring?
We recommend bringing one person to provide support. When your nurse reviews information with you, it is always helpful to have another set of ears. It is ideal to have someone drive you here for the first and second time. Once you know how your body responds to treatment, you may be able to drive yourself to future appointments. Children are welcome to come to your office appointments with you; however due to safety reasons, we ask that children younger than 12 not accompany you in the chemotherapy unit.
When will I lose my hair? Will it grow back?
Hair loss does not occur with all chemotherapy. You may notice hair loss or thinning in the second or third week after your first treatment. It may happen suddenly or slowly and in an uneven pattern. It is common for hair loss to include hair that grows anywhere, including eyelashes and eyebrows. In almost all cases, your hair will resume growth after your treatment is complete. More information on hair loss is available from ChemoCare.com.
Why are labs drawn each time I come in for chemo?
Low blood counts are a common side effect of most chemotherapy treatments. Your doctor and nurse will want to check your blood before giving you your chemotherapy. If your blood counts are too low, your doctor may readjust the dosage of your chemotherapy or hold it so your blood counts can recover. More information on lab draws is available from ChemoCare.com
Should I wear a mask or avoid public places?
You are more prone to infection when your immune system is low. The best way to prevent infection is to wash your hands frequently, and to ask others around you to do the same. You can use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. You do not have to wear a mask but it is wise to avoid contact with people who are ill. More information on avoiding illness is available at ChemoCare.com.
Are there any vitamins or supplements I should be taking?
A daily multivitamin and a well balanced diet should be sufficient. It is not a good idea to take high doses of vitamins. In some instances, large doses of vitamins or minerals can be toxic or harmful and are counterproductive to chemotherapy and radiation treatment. More information on vitamins and supplements is available from ChemoCare.com.
Questions About Office Policy
Can I use my cellphone?
Out of respect for others, please refrain from using your cellphone. Cellphones can be used for emergencies only. You may text message if your phone is on silent.
Can I bring my laptop, tablet or other portable electronics?
Portable electronics are fine if they run on a battery and are equipped with earphones or a headset. Office outlets are not available for personal use.
How many people can I bring in the treatment room with me?
We encourage you to bring a friend or family member with you. However, only one support person is allowed in the treatment area. Folding chairs and benches are available for their use. Treatment chairs are for patients only. If more then one person comes with you, they may be asked to wait in the waiting areas on the first or second floor, as our office waiting area is often full. For safety reasons, we ask that you not bring young children into the treatment area.
What if I get hungry during my treatment?
You are welcome to bring a lunch or snack with you during treatment. Your support person may also bring you something during your treatment. Crackers and beverages available at the clinic are for patients only. Please limit yourself to one clinic-provided snack and beverage. Your support person may help themselves to tea, coffee, or water.
If I come early, can I be seen early?
Not necessarily. We recommend you arrive no more then 15 minutes before your scheduled treatment time. Occasionally your doctor may be able to see you a few minutes early for your doctor’s appointment. This does not necessarily mean you will be able to receive your chemo treatment early.
If I don’t have an appointment, can I still be seen?
If you do not have an appointment but feel you need to see the doctor, please call the office prior to your arrival. Calling ahead allows us to advise you as to when you are likely to have the shortest wait time. Patients who arrive without appointments will not necessarily precede patients that have a scheduled appointment.
What if I need to cancel my appointment?
If you need to cancel for any reason, please call our office within 24 hours of your scheduled appointment. This will allow us to give the appointment to another patient needing medical attention.
What identification do I need?
The law requires that we have positive identification for all patients who receive services. To comply with this rule, we require the following pieces of identification:
- Health insurance card
- Driver License or other government-issued ID with photo.
- You may be required to have a facial photo taken.
If the above identification does not match, additional identification will be required (i.e., a utility bill, school ID card, etc.).