Important Things To Know Before Beginning Chemotherapy Infusions

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Chemotherapy is often used to treat various forms of cancer. While some types of chemotherapy are available in pill form, most chemotherapy is administered through infusions given intravenously at a health clinic. Learning that you have cancer can be a very scary and stressful event, but chemotherapy has good outcomes with a lot of different types of cancer. Continue reading to learn more about what you can do and what will happen before you actually begin your infusions of chemotherapy drugs.

Surgical Device Insertion

The length of your chemotherapy therapy will depend on the type of cancer that you have and the course of treatment that your oncologist prescribes. But, since most people need to undergo chemotherapy treatment through infusion for an extended period of time, a device will typically be inserted surgically to assist in the administration of the drugs intravenously. The device used may be a port, catheter, or pump, and after it is placed, it will be used when administering chemotherapy at each appointment.

Variety of Tests Performed

While chemotherapy can be very effective in fighting cancer, it can also be rough on a person's body, so your oncologist will order a variety of tests before you begin treatment to ensure that your body is healthy enough to receive chemotherapy drugs through infusion. These typically consist of several blood tests that check for liver and kidney function, as well as procedures that measure heart health. 

Prepare for Possible Side Effects

Each person reacts to chemotherapy drugs differently, and in some cases a person may suffer side effects. Some types of chemotherapy can have lasting side effects, such as sterility, so people who want to have children at a future date may opt to have their sperm or eggs extracted and frozen in advance of treatment. It is also common for chemotherapy drugs to cause hair loss, so many cancer patients choose to make arrangements to buy head coverings or wigs before treatment begins so they are prepared.

Ask for Help

When you receive chemotherapy treatments through infusion, it will be done on an outpatient basis, meaning that outside of your appointments you will still have everyday life to contend with. There is no way to predict how you will react to the specific type of chemotherapy prescribed to you, but it is always a good idea to form a strong support network of friends and family members who are willing to help you out if chemotherapy makes it difficult to take care of child rearing, household chores, or other day-to-day tasks. 

To learn more about medical conditions that can be treated with infusions, contact a medical facility like the Idaho Arthritis Center.