frequently asked questions

Is it safe for family members to have contact with me during my chemotherapy?
Yes. Eating together, enjoying favorite activities, hugging and kissing are all safe.

Is it safe for my family to use the same toilet as I do?
Yes, sharing is safe. Close the lid and flush after each use.

What should I do if I do not have control of my bladder or bowels?
Use a disposable, plastic backed pad, diaper or sheet to absorb urine or stool. Change immediately when soiled, and wash skin with mild soap and water. If you have an ostomy, your caregiver should wear gloves when emptying or changing the bags. Discard disposable ostomy supplies in the chemotherapy waste container.

What if I use a bedpan, urinal or commode?
Your caregiver should wear gloves when emptying body wastes. Rinse the container with water after each use and wash it with soap and water at least once a day.

What if I vomit?
Your caregiver should wear gloves when emptying the basin. Rinse the container with water after each use, and wash it with soap and water at least once a day.

Is it safe to be sexually active during my treatment?
Ask your doctor or your nurse this question. It is possible that traces of chemotherapy may be present in vaginal fluid and semen for up to 48 hours after treatment. The most conservative recommendation is to use barrier protection during sexual activity for 48 hours post-treatment. Special precautions may be necessary.

How should I store chemotherapy at home?
Store chemotherapy and equipment in a safe place, out of reach of children and pets. Do not store chemotherapy in the bathroom, as high humidity may damage the drugs. Check medicine labels to see if your chemotherapy should be kept in the refrigerator or away from light. Be sure all medicines are completely labeled.

Is it safe to dispose of chemotherapy in the trash?
No. Chemotherapy waste is hazardous and should be disposed of properly. If you are receiving IV chemotherapy at home, you should have a special spill kit in case of a chemotherapy spill. Please see question ‘What should I do if I spill some chemotherapy’?

Can I travel with my chemotherapy?
Yes. Usually, traveling is no problem. However, because some chemotherapy requires special storage (such as refrigeration), you may need to make special arrangements, check with your nurse, doctor or medicine supplier for further instructions. Regardless of your means of travel (airplane, car or other) always seal your chemotherapy drugs in a plastic bag.

What should I do if I spill some chemotherapy?
You will have a spill kit if you are receiving intravenous chemotherapy at home. In the event of a chemotherapy spill, open the spill kit and put on the supplied gloves. Place a gloved hand inside the pocket of the absorbent towel and absorb the spill. Turn the yellow bag inside out. While still wearing the gloves, clean the spill area with mild soap and water. Remove gloves, turning them inside out and place all contaminated items inside the yellow spill kit. Remove cover from the adhesive strip and seal the yellow spill kit. Place sealed kit inside provided plastic bag and seal it. Bring sealed spill kit back to the cancer center’s infusion room for proper disposal.