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Hamilton Health Sciences
Treatment and Services

Chemotherapy 



Chemotherapy is the use of drugs in the treatment of cancer. A drug or combination of drugs is given to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy is most often given by vein using an intravenous (IV) infusion. Some chemotherapy can be taken by mouth in a pill form.

For more information, please view our virtual tour and select the Chemotherapy chapter.  Click here to play the video.

The Chemotherapy Suite

At the JCC, most patients will receive their chemotherapy intravenously in the Chemotherapy Suite located on Level 2.

Before you begin treatment, you will be scheduled to attend a New Patient Chemotherapy Class.  In this session you will learn about what to expect during chemotherapy, how to manage possible side effects, how to look after yourself during chemotherapy and have the opportunity to ask questions about chemotherapy. You will also be given a "Learning about chemotherapy for patients and families book" to take home with you.  Please bring one family member or friend with you to the New Patient Chemotherapy Class.  The Chemotherapy nurse will also give you information about the chemotherapy drugs that your doctor ordered for you on your first visit in the Chemotherapy Suite.

Treatment Day

On the day of your treatment, please bring your Health Card, take your regular medications unless you have been told otherwise and wear comfortable clothes. Please also remember to bring any medication that you might need during your stay especially your pills to prevent you from being sick and your pain medication. (Please let your oncologist know of any other medications, vitamins or alternative therapies you are taking.

When you arrive for your chemotherapy treatment, you will register at the Reception Desk.  At that time you will be given an identification armband as well as a number that will be called when the nurse is ready to give your chemotherapy treatment.  You will then be asked to take a seat in our waiting area until you are called into the treatment area.  If you do not see your doctor before your treatment, the Pharmacist may call you by your number to talk about your blood work results and chemotherapy side effects before you have your treatment.

There are many activities that go on in the background to make your chemotherapy once you are in the Chemotherapy Suite area.  Although sometimes Pharmacy staff may be able to make your chemotherapy drugs ahead of time, in most cases it cannot be made until you are registered in the Suite. It may take anywhere from just a few minutes or up to as long as an hour to prepare your drugs.  Your safety is our priority, so there are many checks that take place prior to you receiving your treatment.

Chemotherapy Nurses are specially trained to administer chemotherapy. When it is your turn to have your chemotherapy, the nurse will call you by number rather than your name. This is to help ensure your privacy. For safety reasons, we ask that you bring only one family member or friend with you into the treatment area. We do not allow children under the age of 16 into the treatment area

As part of our medication safety protocols, the nurse will compare your name and identification number on your wristband to the chemotherapy order and the drugs at the beginning of every treatment.

Before starting your chemotherapy, you will take your own pills to stop you from being sick. Other pills or intravenous drugs may also be given to you to prevent possible side effects.

Intravenous chemotherapy is given in a vein in the arm or in a special kind of intravenous catheter called a PICC or a PORT. Treatment is different for everyone so your chemotherapy may take only minutes or up to several hours to give.

Once your treatment is finished you need to pick up your next appointment time at the Reception Desk. If your oncologist prescribes any additional medications, they can be conveniently filled at the JCC's retail pharmacy located by the entrance to the Chemotherapy Suite.

Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100