Systemic Anti-Cancer Treatment referral – What happens next?

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This leaflet is intended to give you information on what will happen before you receive your chemotherapy/immunotherapy/targeted treatment and what will happen on the actual day of your treatment. We hope this leaflet covers all your queries. Please ask any member of staff if you have any questions.

Before treatment commences
Before receiving any chemotherapy/immunotherapy/targeted treatment, you will be given a date to attend for a pre-treatment appointment with one of our nurses. The nurse will give you verbal and written information about the side effects of the medicines and information about the telephone helpline. The nurse may also take a blood test in preparation of you commencing your treatment. You are welcome to bring 1 family member or friend to this visit. It is not always easy to remember all the information you may be given and having someone with you may help. If you have any special needs, please let us know and we will aim to make any adjustments needed to accommodate them. It is essential that you attend this appointment, as vital information will be
given to you about your treatment plan and what to do if you feel unwell. You will also have been given your date and time to start you treatment.

I have been told I need a PICC/Hickman line?

Hickman Line – It is a long, thin silicone tube that is tunnelled under your skin and into a large vein in your chest. You have this procedure under local anaesthetic.

PICC – PICC stands for Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter. It’s a type of central line. The line runs up the vein inside your arm and ends up in a large vein in your chest. PICC lines can be left
in for several months. The nurse will talk more about this in your chat about treatment & why you need one.

It is advisable that you do not drive home after your first visit treatment in-case you have had any side effects. Therefore, please arrange for someone to bring you on this occasion. There are a few
treatments for which we give you medication on the day that could affect your concentration for the remainder of the day. We suggest that you do not drive in this instance. Please ask the nurses to clarify if this applies to you. When you attend for your chemotherapy appointment, normally you are free to go home as soon as your treatment has been given, if not the nurse would have informed you of this.

What to do when you arrive
Please ensure that you let the receptionist know. This allows us to make sure that you do not miss your turn and to record the time you arrived. The receptionist will inform the nurse caring for you that you have arrived.

Future treatments – ‘Two stop’ appointments
Most patients will be given two appointments on two different days. One will be to attend the clinic for blood tests and to be assessed by a senior nurse, and the other will be for your chemotherapy treatment. This system is used so that we can have your treatment prepared early on the second visit, to reduce the time you wait.

Blood Tests for Tablet Treatments Only
We encourage all patients to go to their GP surgery to have their blood taken prior to your treatment appointment 2 days before. This can reduce the frequency of travelling to the centre and reduce waiting times for medication. You will be issued with a blood request form to take to your GPs indicating what tests are required.

If your GP surgery does not send the blood samples to this hospital, then you have to follow the above ‘Two Stop’ appointment.

Treatment appointment
You will have been given an appointment time for when your treatment is due. Sometimes there may be a delay, as the treatment you are due to receive may need to be prepared. The medicines are prepared in a specialised environment and go through many rigorous checks before they are ready for use. This may take a couple of hours. We will always aim to keep you informed of any delay. When you are called in for your treatment, you will sit in a reclining chair and a specially trained nurse will give you your treatment. This could take from 10 minutes to several hours depending on what regime you are having. Other medications may also be administered at this time to combat any side effects of the drugs.

Will I see the consultant?
Although you have been referred to a specific consultant’s clinic you may not necessarily see the consultant every time you attend. However, you will be seen by a member of their team. There are many clinics seeing and treating patients. If a patient arrives after you and is called in before you, it does not mean they are jumping the queue. They are probably seeing a different doctor or attending a nurse led clinic.

When my treatment finishes on the day?
The nurse who is caring for you will ensure that you take home all medications required. They will also book you in for your next blood test, and treatment appointment. They will also check with you that you have a Doctor’s appointment book prior to next treatment if required.

Telephone Numbers
Non Urgent – Haematology patients – Macmillan Unit 01908 996351.
Non Urgent – Oncology patients – Oncology suite 01908 996431.
Urgent Telephone – 01908 660033 Bleep 1090.