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Drug Therapies

When you have cancer, you want the most powerful medications available to help eliminate the disease. Baystate Regional Cancer Program oncology specialists are experienced with the latest drug therapies to treat your specific type of cancer.

chemo patient and nurse at DCFCC

Drug therapy may include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Biological therapy, using cytokines and monoclonal antibodies
  • Hormone therapy

The type of drug therapy used depends on the type and stage of your cancer. You may have drug therapy as your only means of treatment, or you may receive it in combination with surgery or radiation therapy. Your medical oncologist will help coordinate your treatment plan with other specialists.

Receiving Chemotherapy

We want you to be as comfortable as possible when you receive treatment. Please wear loose, comfortable clothes so the nurse may access your port or arm to start the IV.

  • Once you are seated in your infusion suite, your nurse will take your vital signs, including:
    • Blood pressure
    • Pulse
    • Temperature
  • A blood sample will be drawn through your IV or port and taken to our on-site lab to check your blood counts, electrolytes, and any other needed blood tests.
  • The pharmacy reviews your medication, checks the dosage, and prepares the chemotherapy or other drug therapy for the nurses.
  • Once your infusion has begun, your nurse can show you how to unplug your IV if you need to take a break to use the restroom or get a snack.
  • When your infusion is finished, your nurse will remove your IV and you will be able to leave.

Comfort Measures

Chemotherapy may take several hours. We encourage you to:

  • Bring someone with you to keep you company.
  • Bring comfort items, such as:
    • Blanket
    • Book
    • Music player with earphones
    • Laptop
    • Snacks
  • Massage therapy may be available at no cost to help you relax during treatment.
  • You may eat and drink while receiving chemotherapy. Bring a snack, or choose from available snacks and juice. Vending machines are available.

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