Chemo can be tough, but we can help you manage
Just as cancer treatments have advanced, so has our ability to limit your side effects.
Chemotherapy is a drug designed to kill cancer cells. Some chemo drugs work by attacking rapidly dividing cells, and others work by targeting cells with cancerous abnormalities. Chemotherapy can be used on its own, or in combination with radiation, surgery, and other cancer therapies.
Advanced Chemotherapy at Aurora BayCare
Chemotherapy is usually given intravenously (into a vein), orally, intramuscularly (into a muscle) , or subcutaneously (under the skin). At Aurora BayCare, we also offer the following specialized chemotherapy treatments:
- Provenge: We are among the nation’s first certified Provenge sites for advanced prostate cancer.
- Intrathecal Chemotherapy: Used to treat cancers that have reached the central nervous system, intra-thecal chemotherapy delivers drugs directly to the brain and spinal cord.
- Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy: This type of chemotherapy uses a catheter to deliver drugs directly to the abdomen.
Planning for Chemotherapy
Most chemotherapy is administered in the Chemotherapy Infusion Unit of the Vince Lombardi Cancer Center on the first floor. The Chemotherapy Infusion Unit has 13 treatment stations and dedicated chemotherapy certified nurses to promote your comfort and healing.
You are always welcome to bring a family member or friend along to your chemotherapy sessions. Pack a bag with magazines, some snacks, comfy socks, and maybe a soft blanket. Ask to tour the infusion unit before you start treatment and talk with your Nurse Navigator about what to expect.
Coping with Chemotherapy
Every person has a different experience with chemotherapy. Different drugs cause different side effects, and every patient experiences those side effects differently. Fortunately, just as cancer treatments have advanced, so has our ability to manage any negative impacts.
There are many treatments we can use to minimize the side effects of chemotherapy. Before your treatment, we’ll talk to you about which side effects you could expect and how to deal with them. As treatment progresses, be sure to let your medical team know about any difficulties.
Your well-being, both emotion and physical, is very important to us. Please let your doctor know if you feel the side effects of your treatment are outweighing the benefits.
Chemotherapy affects everyone differently, so plan to take some time off work and get extra childcare help for the first few days after treatment. Once you know how your body reacts, you can adjust your support plans accordingly.
How you prepare for chemotherapy will depend on which drugs you receive and how they’ll be administered. Your doctor and your chemo therapy certified nurse will give you specific instructions.
Before your chemotherapy treatment you may need to:
- Undergo tests to ensure you’re healthy enough for chemotherapy.
- Undergo genetic testing to determine whether you have certain genes that process chemotherapy drugs differently than other people.
- For patients receiving intravenous chemotherapy, you may need to have a port surgically implanted into a large vein (typically in your chest).
- Plan ahead for possible side effects, such as infertility or hair loss. For example, you may wish to store sperm or eggs for later use.
Chemotherapy is not a one-size-fits-all cancer treatment. There are a wide variety of cancer-fighting drugs that attack different types of cancer cells at different stages of development. The medical oncologists at Aurora BayCare are experts at determining which drug or combination of drugs will be most effective in treating your cancer.