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Other questions

What about other medicines I am taking?

Generally, you should still take any medicines that your GP prescribes for you. However, it is important to tell your doctor or nurse about them and anything else you are taking, including medicines you buy over the counter. If you are taking warfarin or other blood-thinning drugs, tell the doctor at the anti-coagulant clinic that you are on chemotherapy, as it can interfere with the way your blood clots.

What other tests may I need?

Although you may have already had certain tests before we see you, we may need to repeat them or do some new tests throughout your treatment. These are routine and the doctor or nurse will explain them to you if necessary.
Tests may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Electrocardiograph – (heart tracing)
  • Chest x-ray
  • CT scan – (Computerised Tomography)
  • MRI scan – (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
  • PET scan – (Positron Emission Tomography)

These tests will help the doctor decide the most appropriate treatment for you.

Can I drive?

Somebody should drive you to and collect you after your first chemotherapy treatment. Please ask your nurse or doctor if you can drive on subsequent cycles.

Can I still go to work?

Yes, if you feel well enough and the nature of your job enables you to continue with work. It is best to discuss this with your doctor and the pre-assessment nurse.

Can I have a flu jab?

Yes, the flu vaccine is recommended for people who are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy as their treatment may put them at a greater risk of getting infections. Patients receiving chemotherapy should ideally be vaccinated at least two weeks before starting their first cycle of treatment. It is safe to have the flu vaccination between chemotherapy courses, however it is important not to have the flu vaccination when the immune system is at its lowest. The best time is the day before chemotherapy BUT you must check with the chemotherapy nurses that your blood results show your immune system is good enough to have the injection.

Can I go on holiday?

Sometimes we can adapt treatment to fit in with holiday plans. Please ask your doctor in good time if you want to alter your treatment date.

Vaccinations

If you are planning to go on holiday, you must not have any ‘live virus’ vaccines while you are having chemotherapy. These include polio, measles, rubella, MMR, BCG, and yellow fever.

Vaccines that you can have include whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, flu, pneumonia, hepatitis B, rabies, cholera, typhoid and anthrax.

Can I drink and smoke?

It’s best to discuss this with your doctor. Generally, small amounts of alcohol are safe but best avoided for the first 48 hours after treatment. We advise you not to smoke but we cannot stop you.

What if the chemotherapy does not work?

If the drugs don’t seem to be working, the doctor may want to change the drug or combination of drugs, but your consultant will discuss this with you.

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    Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust,
    London Road,
    Reading,
    RG1 5AN
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    Tel: 0118 322 5111