General guidelines for cancer treatment

If you are about to start receiving chemotherapy medicine, or if you are already receiving it, you probably have concerns.

Please feel free to ask your doctor or nurse any questions you have. It is important that you understand your cancer treatment.

Before using this medicine

Tell your doctor or nurse if you:

  • are allergic to any medicines, either prescription or over-the-counter
  • are taking any other medicine, either prescription or over-the-counter (including vitamins and herbal remedies)
  • are pregnant or plan to get pregnant
  • are breastfeeding
  • have ever been treated with radiation or cancer medicines
  • have any other medical problems:
    • chickenpox
    • lung disease
    • herpes zoster (shingles)
    • kidney disease
    • infection
    • liver disease

If you can, have dental work done before starting chemotherapy or radiation.

While taking this medicine

  • Avoid getting pregnant or fathering a child.
  • Use anti-nausea medicines as ordered; let your doctor or nurse know if they are not helping.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Donot take aspirin or products containing aspirin without checking with your doctor.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Do not have flu shots or other shots without checking with your doctor.
  • See your doctor on a regular schedule to check your progress.
  • It is important for you to know that everyone reacts differently to chemotherapy. Many people either do not have any side effects or have only mild effects. Your doctor or nurse will give you further information on your specific chemotherapy medicine and its possible side effects.

Call your doctor or nurse right away

Call right away if you have:

  • temperature higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • shaking chills
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • blood in stool or urine
  • nose bleeds
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • uncontrollable pain
  • yellowing of your skin or eyes

Call your doctor or nurse within 24 hours

Call within 24 hours if you have:

  • nausea or vomiting unrelieved by medicine and/or lasting for longer than 24 hours
  • sore mouth, painful or difficult swallowing
  • constipation or diarrhea lasting longer than 48 hours
  • pain at the IV site
  • burning during urination

Please call your doctor or nurse if you have any questions.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, General Guidelines for Cancer Treatment, can-ahc-10730
First Published: 04/05/2007
Last Reviewed: 04/05/2007

Cancer support services

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We encourage you and your family to gain support not only from our cancer experts, but also from others going through similar experiences.

Cancer rehabilitation services

Cancer rehabilitation services from Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute can help you cope with the effects of cancer and its treatment. These services can be helpful before and after treatment. Prior to treatment it can help you maintain physical well-being and reduce discomfort. After treatment, it can help you regain strength and function.