How To Prepare for IV Chemotherapy

IV chemotherapy is a type of medication that was created to kill cancer cells. There are different types of chemotherapy treatments available. It can be administered via an IV, taken orally, given topically, or inserted directly into an artery. This guide is to help you understand more about IV chemotherapy and how to prepare for it.

What Is Chemotherapy? 

Chemotherapy can be done in a variety of different methods and is designed to kill cancer cells. But, in the process, it may also kill off healthy cells as well. IV chemotherapy, specifically, is administered via a catheter tube into the person’s vein. The most commonly used chemotherapy IVs are lines and ports that are considered peripherally inserted central catheters.

Preparing for IV Chemotherapy

IV chemotherapy is also known as infusion chemotherapy. These are anti-cancer drugs that are infused into a person’s body. If you or someone you know will be undergoing IV chemotherapy, here are some ways to prepare:

  • Know the type of cancer you have. Not only should you become familiar with the type of cancer you have, but you should also educate yourself on the drugs you will be given and the way they work. If you are unable to research this information on your own, have a loved one help you understand this information before the treatment begins and progresses. This will help you know whether what you are experiencing is typical or if you should reach out to your doctor.
  • Familiarize yourself with the side effects. Knowing about the side effects before you even start IV chemo is important. This will help you along the way. For instance, not all chemo methods will result in you losing your hair. Knowing ahead of time will help you prepare for the different ways you wish to deal with these side effects as they come.
  • Visit your dentist. Some side effects of chemotherapy are mouth sores and even throat sores. It is highly recommended that you schedule an appointment to see your dentist before you begin treatment. This will help you know whether your mouth and teeth are in good condition.
  • Get your home ready. Chemotherapy can cause fatigue. It is important that you prepare your home with any medical supplies, clothing, and food prior to treatment.
  • Don’t turn down help from others. Many people are used to supporting themselves. But, you should let go of this expectation during chemotherapy. Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself, which can make your condition worse. Instead, learn to embrace help from others who are willing to do just that.
  • Be flexible with treatment. It is helpful to expect the otherwise unexpected. This can help you along your journey. Stay flexible about the many possibilities you may experience. For example, you may have put it in your mind that you will be just as active as you were before treatment, after treatment. Once you are unable to do some of the same activities you once enjoyed, it can create frustration. Chemo sessions can be lengthy.
  • Seek support. You should not only seek physical help from others as needed but also seek emotional support from either cancer support groups or other people that can help you through treatment.