While chemotherapy drugs can help treat people with cancer, they can harm people who don’t have cancer.
The nurses and doctors giving chemotherapy take precautions to avoid direct contact with the drugs. They will wear special gloves, masks and goggles when preparing and giving you the chemotherapy drugs, and dispose of these in special bags.
Chemotherapy may remain in the body for up to three days after treatment, and is passed in urine and stool. Vomit may also contain traces of chemotherapy. If you go to hospital every day for your chemotherapy or have it at home, your carers will need to take extra care.
- Wash skin with soap and water if chemotherapy spills on the skin. Contact the hospital if any redness or irritation caused by the spillage doesn’t clear within the hour.
- Wear gloves when handling clothing or bed sheets that have vomit on them.
- Flush toilet twice after using for 48 hours after receiving chemotherapy.
- Store chemotherapy tablets, capsules or injections as directed by your doctor or pharmacist.
The Cancer Council booklet, Understanding Chemotherapy, has more information about chemotherapy. It is available free online or by calling the Cancer Council Helpline (13 11 20).