Frequently Asked Questions

You can find answers to some of our FAQs below.

Who can I speak to if I have side effects from SACT?

It is also important to highlight that all the side effects from SACT are manageable but it is very important to tell your Oncologist any problems you have encountered so these can be addressed. You can also call your Clinical Nurse Specialist, if you have one.

If you have side effects from your SACT that you require advice on quickly or you have a rise in body temperature above 38c please call the rapid response line on 0115 9628066 you will be able to get advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including bank holidays.

What should I do if I have a rise in temperature i.e. a fever?

Chemotherapy causes myelosuppression. This means that your immune system may be weaker than normal and you may be more susceptible to infection. To reduce your risk of picking up an infection, please try to minimise your contact with family and friends who are unwell. One of the first signs of infection is a temperature; you will therefore need to buy a thermometer prior to starting SACT. The average person’s normal body temperature ranges from 36.1° to 37.2°C.

We ask that you check your temperature daily, roughly the same time everyday so you know what your normal body temperature is. Then the other occasion to check your temperature is if you are feeling unwell, for example, excessively tired, shaky, shivery or generally unwell. If you check your temperature and it is higher than 38c it is very important to phone the Rapid Response number straight away. If you are feeling unwell but your temperature is normal you still contact the Rapid Response number to be assessed.

What is a PICC line or a PORT catheter? If I have one, how do treat it

What is a PICC line or a PORT catheter? If I have one, how frequently do I have to have it flushed?

  • Macmillan link for PICC lines and PORT catheters
  • PICC lines need dressing and flushing weekly and this can be arranged
  • PORT catheters if not being used regularly will need accessing on a monthly basis to be flushed

Can I get a wig voucher?

Wig/hat/scarf vouchers can be given for patients who are having treatment that causes hair loss. A voucher is offered towards a wig/hat/scarf and a factsheet will be provided with approved suppliers as the voucher isn’t accepted everywhere.

What is a cold cap?

Cold caps scalp cooling is where cold is used to reduce the amount of chemotherapy that gets to your scalp to try and minimise hair loss. Effectiveness of scalp cooling is very individual and will not work for everyone. It must be used on your first cycle of treatment and there are two methods of scalp cooling. The first is a shower cap which is put on your head and then a gel filled cap, which is kept in the freezer, is put on top and then an outer cap to secure everything. It goes on 15 minutes prior to starting treatment and changed every 45 minutes during treatment and is left on for 15 minutes after treatment.

The second method is using the Paxman which is a machine which keeps cold consistently. It is put on 30 minutes prior to treatment and stays on during. The cap stays on afterwards but the time will vary depending on the drugs you are having so can vary from 30 minutes up to 1 hour 30 minutes. Please speak to the chemotherapy nurses for more information. Paxman cools the scalp down to -5 degrees, which does carry some risk. Your consultant will establish whether the risks outweigh the benefits and provide you with the relevant information.

I am intending to travel abroad. What do I do?

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will have to follow the guidelines outlined to us. If you are travelling to a country that requires you to complete a period of quarantine on your return, you will have to complete your quarantine prior to resuming on your treatment.

This is done to protect other patients and staff. You will be requested to have COVID swab prior to starting on treatment. Please discuss this with your consultant team and be aware of current government guidance.

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