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Systemic Therapy Unit

​​What to Bring

Make sure to bring:

  • Government-issued health card (OHIP card)
  • Medications that you need to take

Canadian Cancer Society​ (CCS) offers free rides for patients to and from the hospital. Transportation can be arranged through the CCS.

Please note: Appointments can take several hours. Bring with you any medications you normally take during the day. Learn more about where to wait, what you can do while waiting and what you should bring with you by reading our While You Wait for Your Appointment page »

What Will Happen during the Appointment?

There are several different steps in your chemotherapy appointment:

Blood Work

You need blood work done before every chemotherapy appointment. This is to make sure it is safe for you to have your chemo. If your blood counts are too high or too low, it may not be safe for you to get your treatment.

Your blood work needs to be done 1 or 2 days before your chemotherapy treatment appointment. You can have your blood work done at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Blood Lab. The lab is located on the main floor, next to the Outpatient Pharmacy.

For your ease, you may also be able to have blood work done at a blood lab close to your home. Read Know about your Blood Work for more information, and speak with your healthcare team to see if this would work for you.

Ordering Chemotherapy

Your doctor orders chemotherapy for you based on your treatment plan. For each treatment appointment your health care team will review your blood test results and make sure they are good enough for the treatment. They then order the chemotherapy from the pharmacy.

Preparing the Drugs

The pharmacist reviews the order and enters it into the computer system. A technician then gathers the materials needed to make your chemotherapy.

Preparing your chemotherapy order can take a while. The technicians must make sure that they prepare your chemotherapy accurately, exactly as the doctor ordered. They must also make sure that it is sterile and that no bacteria get into the treatment. Making accurate and sterile chemotherapy orders takes time, between 1 - 2 hours.

After the chemotherapy has been prepared, the pharmacist checks it and compares it to the order to make sure it is correct.

Getting Treatment

When it is time for your appointment, go to the reception desk in the Systemic Therapy Unit and take a number from our ticket machine. Wait in the waiting room for your number to be called; make sure you have your OHIP card ready. When you are called you will be given a hospital ID bracelet and a pager.

When you check in, tell the patient flow coordinator if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Mouth sores
  • History of falls
  • If you use a mobility device

You may need to see a nurse before you start your next treatment.

Your doctor will let you know if you need to take any medications before your chemotherapy treatment. If you do, ask the  Patient Flow Coordinator what time you should take them.

How Long Will Your Appointment Be?

Your chemotherapy appointment may last for most of the day. The different stages of your appointment can each last several hours.

  • Blood work: Getting results takes 1 to 3 hours, depending on what type of blood test needs to be done.
  • Ordering chemotherapy: It takes about half an hour to check the order.
  • Pharmacy: It takes about 1 - 2 hour to prepare the order and check it again. Some clinical trials may take about 3 hours to prepare.
  • Treatment: This lasts between 30 minutes and 8 hours.
Last reviewed: 9/27/2016
Last modified: 5/12/2017 11:14 AM