IV Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of one or more anticancer (cytotoxic) drugs to damage cancer cells so they can’t grow and reproduce. Some chemotherapy drugs are given on their own. But more often, several chemotherapy drugs are given together. 

Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells, but they can also damage healthy cells. This damage to healthy cells causes side effects. Different cells and tissues in the body tolerate chemotherapy differently. Side effects from chemotherapy can occur any time during, immediately after, or a few days or weeks after treatment. Most side effects go away when chemotherapy is over however, some side effects can occur months or years after treatment, last a long time or be permanent. 

There are five hospitals in the South West region that deliver IV chemotherapy, and options for Cancer Care Close to Home.

Cancer Care Ontario guides and implements policy and best-practice care standards for cancer drugs in Ontario. They also help remove barriers to treatment so eligible patients have access to the right cancer therapies when they need them. 

Drug Formulary

Cancer Care Ontario's Drug Formulary is an information only resource providing online drug and regimen monographs reflecting the choices of chemotherapy used across Ontario. 

Drug Funding in Ontario

Cancer drugs in Ontario are funded through a mix of private and public funding. Ontario offers drug funding programs for the treatment of cancer patients, three of which are administered through the Provincial Drug Reimbursement Programs at Cancer Care Ontario.

Febrile Neutropenia

Febrile neutropenia (FN) occurs when a patient has a fever and a significant reduction in their white blood cells (neutropenia) that are needed to fight infections. Many patients when undergoing cancer treatment will have a reduction in their white blood cells that may be temporary or may persist for some time. The fever may be caused by an infectious agent, and when it is rapid treatment is required. A patient with FN needs assessment for the possible source and type of infection and treatment until the cause is found or it subsides. Patients in the South West region who are undergoing cancer treatment and are susceptible to febrile neutropenia are asked to carry a Fever Card with them at all times. Click here for more information about FN.

Resources:

Quality Based Procedures (QBP) Clinical Handbook: Systemic Treatment 
Febrile Neutropenia Algorithm

Communication Forms:
Use the regional communication forms for all updates on a patient's condition. The primary nurse will recieve this information so that he/she is aware of patient issues and management throughout treatment. The information should also be captured on your nursing documentation notes that are sent to London Regional Cancer Program (LRCP), as well as in the regional physician's consult note to LRCP. The records become a permament document on the chart. These forms are a critical part of keeping patient records up-to-date and maintatining communication with LRCP. 

References:
Canadian Cancer Society
Cancer Care Ontario