MEDICINES & HOSPITALS
Chemotherapy (often called ‘chemo’) is the most common medicine given to people with cancer. It is a group of very strong medicines that slow down or get rid of cancer cells, eventually allowing the healthy cells to grow again once the bad cells have been reduced or wiped out.
Chemotherapy’s job is to get rid of cancer cells and stop them from growing.
A side effect of chemo is that it can also attack healthy cells. Chemo can sometimes make hair fall out, cause a sore mouth, make you feel very tired and stop you from being hungry. But when chemo stops these side effects stop too.
Chemo can be taken as tablets, as a liquid, through a cannula which is a thin tube inserted into a, or through a line or port. A line port is a small disc made of plastic or metal about the size of a quarter that sits just under the skin.
Will their hair grow back?
Yes, when they stop having chemo. Until then, some people might wear cool hats, scarves or wigs – or even proudly show off their bald head!
How long will they have chemo for?
Doctors decide how much chemo they need and for how long. Every cancer is and treatment plan is different.
Why are they so tired and feeling sick too?
Chemo can make people feel sick and really tired, or they might need medicine to help with pain. Ask if you can chill out together – maybe you can watch some favourite movies together or do a craft activity in a comfy chair.
Do you have to go to hospital for chemo?
Most of the time, yes. It may just for the day or for a few weeks. The person you care about will have a chemo plan created by the doctor, just for them.
Why are they back in hospital again?
After chemo, some people feel pretty sick. Doctors and nurses can look after them in hospital. They might also need antibiotics to fight any infections and in some cases, medicines to help with the pain.
WHAT MIGHT YOU SEE?
An IV Drip is also sometimes known as a cannula, a drip or just IV. It is a short, small plastic tube that is put into the patient’s vein using a needle. The plastic tube is then left in the vein so that fluids and medicines can be given directly into the body through the bloodstream. It can also sometimes be used to take blood samples.
A hospital bed is specifically designed for patients in hospital or other health care facilities. These beds have special features both for the comfort and well-being of the patient as well as ease of access for the doctors and nurses looking after them. Common features include adjustable height for the entire bed, the head, and the feet, adjustable side rails, and electronic buttons to operate both the bed and connect other nearby electronic devices.
A hypodermic needle is a hollow tube that is sharpened into a needle so it can be inserted into somebody’s body. After it is in, medicine is pushed through the steel needle. These can also be used to take blood out of your body so it can be used to test how well you are.
There are different types of medicine and can come in different forms such as liquids or tablets. Most medicines are taken by swallowing. Once the medicine is swallowed, the digestive juices in the stomach break it down, and the medicine can pass into the bloodstream. Your blood then carries it to other parts of your body where the medicine is needed.