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Step By Step – we are with you

Being prepared and understanding chemotherapy can help lessen some of the stress surrounding your treatment.

If you have had chemotherapy recommended to you as a treatment option by your medical oncologist or haematologist you will have the support of our dedicated and friendly nursing staff of our chemotherapy units at The Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre Westmead and the Blacktown Oncology Unit

First things first:

Before you are started on chemotherapy we make sure that you are fully prepared for the treatment by providing you with a comprehensive information pack which you can take home and read at your own pace, as well as booking you in for a formal face-to-face education session with our nursing staff.

Some frequently asked questions you might find helpful:

How will I receive the chemotherapy?

There are many ways to receive chemotherapy depending on your type of cancer, including tablets, injections into the muscle (intramuscular), injections into the subcutaneous tissue (just below the skin), topical (like cream) and intravenous (into the vein). However, most chemotherapy is given via the intravenous route.

How long will the treatment session take?

This depends on the type of cancer you have and the chemotherapy which your doctor has prescribed for you. These things will determine the length of time you will be here. Some treatments are quite quick, whilst others may take up most of a day, or several days.

What chemotherapy will I be receiving?

This will completely depend on the type of cancer you have. Every cancer has different chemotherapy regimens, including different drugs and intervals.

What type of side effects will I get?

Side effects depend on the chemotherapy drugs you receive and your individual response to these. Some potential side effects can include nausea and/or vomiting, alopecia (hair loss), skin photosensitivity (sensitivity to light), febrile neutropenia (high temperature with low white cell count), dry skin and lethargy. All side effects must be discussed with your treating team

What is multi-disciplinary care?

Multidisciplinary care is a collaborative approach to treatment planning and ongoing care throughout the treatment pathway.

Multidisciplinary care occurs when professionals from a range of disciplines with different but complementary skills, knowledge and experience work together to deliver comprehensive healthcare aimed at providing the best possible outcome for the physical and psychosocial needs of a patient and their carers.

What is multi-modality treatment?

Multi-modality treatment (also called combination therapy) is therapy that combines more than one method of treatment.

Where will I have my chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is given in a specialised unit with specialised nursing staff. Your treatment will be given at a unit within the local health district you are attending but which is closest to your home and can provide the appropriate level of care required for your treatment regimen.You will be given a tour of the facility when you attend to the face-to-face chemotherapy education session which occurs prior to your treatment.

What can I expect to happen on my first treatment of chemotherapy?

On the day of your first chemotherapy treatment, you will be greeted by the nurse looking after you, at which time they will introduce themselves and their role in the treating team. She/he will weigh you and attend to your observations (temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen saturations. You will be guided to a chair and provided with an explanation regarding what you can expect. Education regarding your specific chemotherapy regimen will be provided and you will be encouraged to ask questions. A cannula will be inserted (either into the back of your hand or forearm) and your treatment will commence.

Should I eat before I come to my chemotherapy treatment session?

You may eat and drink before you come. Eating and drinking will not effect your chemotherapy.

What should I wear?

 Loose, comfortable clothing that allows easy access to arms so that venous access can be obtained (cannula into the vein).

What should I bring with me?

Please bring identification, Medicare Card and your support person, especially to your first treatment.

Can I drive after treatment?

Yes, you can drive but we suggest you bring a driver for your first chemotherapy appointment if at all possible. Alternatively, Community transport may be an option for you. Please discuss this with your nurse at time of treatment.

Will chemotherapy treatment be painful?

No, chemotherapy is not normally painful. You will be required to have a cannula inserted into a vein if you are having intravenous chemotherapy. There may be a small sting as the needle is inserted.


Our Chemotherapy Centres

The Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre Westmead –  Westmead Hospital
Opening hours

Monday to Friday, 8.00am – 5.00pm. Saturday and Sunday, 8.00am – 4.30pm (specific treatments only)

Contact Details

Tel: (02) 8890 6742
Fax: (02) 8890 8353


Westmead Hospital – The Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre Westmead – Day Care Suite
Level 1 Entrance via Hawkesbury Road Westmead (University Clinics entrance)

Service fees

All services are bulk billed. Any related charges will be discussed with patients prior to treatment. Please bring a Medicare card if you have one and any private health insurance details.

Public Transport / Parking

Patients receiving cancer treatment can access free parking in any of the hospital multistorey car parks.  Your parking ticket needs to be validated prior to exiting the car park.  This can be done with staff at the front reception desk of the cancer centre.  The closest multistorey car park is located directly in front of the cancer centre and can be accessed via the Hawkesbury Road University Clinics Entrance OR  the Accident & Emergency Entrance.

Blacktown Oncology Unit, Blacktown Hospital
Opening hours

Monday to Friday, 8.00am – 4.30pm.

Contact details

Address:  Blacktown Hospital – Marcel Crescent   Blacktown

Tel: (02) 9881 8421
Fax: (02) 9888 8430

Patients need to ring the unit and make an appointment with reception staff

On the day of appointment patients need to bring the referral, medicare card and details of private health insurance if any.

Accessibility and parking

The Blacktown Oncology Unit is located in the grounds of Blacktown Hospital.

Public Transport
  • Close to bus stop
  • Close to train station
  • Phone available to call taxi
  • Serviced by community mini-bus or other community transport service
  • Taxi rank on site or close by

General parking available adjacent to unit – free for patients of the unit

Disability access

Fully accessible premises

Disability parking

Accessibility (disability) parking available on site

Information Resources

Below are a number of valuable educational resources for cancer patients and their families.

If you have additional questions about chemotherapy please discuss these with your treating team.

Cancer Council NSW

Frequently Asked Questions about Chemotherapy

Cancer Institute NSW

General Cancer Information

eviQ Cancer Treatment On-Line Cancer

This website provides This includes patient information sheets / videos as well as patient information in other languages 

Breast Cancer Network Australia

Resource for Australians affected by breast cancer

American Cancer Society

Understanding Chemotherapy – A guide for patients and their families




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