- immuno-compromized condition during chemo
- flu shot (peaks in November in Alberta)
- Arterial rupture: low-dose aspirin?
Low-dose aspirin (not recommended, will thin blood too much and risk for hemorrhage)
How you prepare for chemotherapy depends on which drugs you’ll receive and how they’ll be administered. Your doctor will give you specific instructions to prepare for your chemotherapy treatments. You may need to:
- Have a device surgically inserted before intravenous chemotherapy. If you’ll be receiving your chemotherapy intravenously — into a vein — your doctor may recommend a device, such as a catheter, port or pump. The catheter or other device is surgically implanted into a large vein, usually in your chest. Chemotherapy drugs can be given through the device.
- Undergo tests and procedures to make sure your body is ready to receive chemotherapy. Blood tests to check kidney and liver function and heart tests to check for heart health can determine whether your body is ready to begin chemotherapy. If there’s a problem, your doctor may delay your treatment or select a different chemotherapy drug and dosage that’s safer for you.
- See your dentist. Your doctor may recommend that a dentist check your teeth for signs of infection. Treating existing infections may reduce the risk of complications during chemotherapy treatment, since some chemotherapy may reduce your body’s ability to fight infections.
- Plan ahead for side effects. Ask your doctor what side effects to expect during and after chemotherapy and make appropriate arrangements. For instance, if your chemotherapy treatment will cause infertility, you may wish to consider your options for preserving your sperm or eggs for future use. If your chemotherapy will cause hair loss, consider planning for a head covering.
- Make arrangements for help at home and at work. Most chemotherapy treatments are given in an outpatient clinic, which means most people are able to continue working and doing their usual activities during chemotherapy. Your doctor can tell you in general how much the chemotherapy will affect your usual activities, but it’s difficult to predict exactly how you’ll feel.Ask your doctor if you’ll need time off work or help around the house after treatment. Ask your doctor for the details of your chemotherapy treatments so that you can make arrangements for work, children, pets or other commitments.
- Prepare for your first treatment. Ask your doctor or chemotherapy nurses how to prepare for chemotherapy. It may be helpful to arrive for your first chemotherapy treatment well-rested. You might wish to eat a light meal beforehand in case your chemotherapy medications cause nausea.Have a friend or family member drive you to your first treatment. Most people can drive themselves to and from chemotherapy sessions. But the first time you may find that the medications make you sleepy or cause other side effects that make driving difficult.
Three of the drugs in R-CHOP are powerful cytotoxics, which means they kill cells. One is a type of immunotherapy and the last is a steroid, which has shown to have anticancer effects.
Rituximab is generally used to treat NHL. It’s a monoclonal antibody. It targets a protein called CD20 on the surface of white blood cells called “B cells. Once the drug attaches to the B cells, your immune system attacks and kills them.
This drug can treat a variety of cancers, including lymphoma and cancer of the breast and lung. Cyclophosphamide targets the DNA of cancer cells and signals them to stop dividing.
Doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin, Rubex)
This drug is an anthracycline that can treat many types of cancer, including breast, lung, and ovarian cancer. Doxorubicin blocks an enzyme cancer cells need to grow and reproduce. It’s bright red color has earned it the nickname “the red devil.”
Vincristine (Oncovin, Vincasar PFS, Vincrex)
Vincristine is an alkaloid that can treat many types of cancer, including advanced-stage breast cancer, lymphomas, and leukemia. It interferes with genes to stop them from replicating. This drug is a vesicant, meaning it can damage tissue and vessels.
This drug is a corticosteroid available under a variety of brand names. Unlike the others, this is an oral medication. It works with your immune system to help reduce:
- allergic reactions
- low platelet levels, or thrombocytopenia
- high calcium levels, or hypercalcemia
Together, these drugs create a potent cancer-fighting cocktail.