Outpatient Procedure Information Many types of cancer treatment are provided on an outpatient basis, which means you are not admitted to the hospital. Those procedures may include Radiation Therapy or Chemotherapy. You also may be scheduled for lab work or imaging tests. The information on this page will offer an overview of those procedures. Lab Tests and Imaging Procedures Blood work (labs) may be needed as part of your care. A separate lab appointment will be scheduled for you to have your blood drawn. Lab appointments are scheduled at least 60 minutes before any doctor or treatment visit for test results needed the same day. Depending on the test, it takes 45-90 minutes from the time the laboratory receives the specimen to get results. Sometimes, your doctor cannot see you until the results of tests are available. Blood work and other tests can be scheduled to be done the day before or a few days before your scheduled doctor or treatment visit so your results are available before your physician or treatment visit. Imaging/Radiology tests such as CT scans, PET scans, and other x-rays are separate appointments. Certain tests can take several hours to do. After the test is done, it can take several more hours to get results of the test. Results may or may not be available on the same day a test is done. Scheduling all test, doctor, and treatment appointments on the same day is not always possible. Your plan of care may require you to make several trips to the Cancer Center or Ruby Memorial Hospital. Please let us know if you do not live within the immediate area (more then 50 miles), and it is a hardship for you to travel back and forth on several days. We may be able to have some tests done closer to home and the results faxed to us before you come. If you need to stay overnight during your care at our facility, we can make a referral to the WVUH Family House. Please discuss these options with your nurse clinician or doctor. Chemotherapy/Infusions What is Chemotherapy? Chemotherapy is the use of drugs for treating cancer. Before your treatment begins, you will have certain tests to assess your condition and determine which chemotherapy drugs are best for you. The tests may include chest X-rays, blood or urine tests, CT scans or an EKG (electrocardiogram). Your doctor and nurse will explain the chemotherapy procedure to you. Chemotherapy is given in cycles. This gives your body a chance to build healthy new cells and regain its strength. The number of treatments and how often you receive them depends on the kind of cancer you have, the goals of the treatment, the drugs used and your body’s response to them. You may get chemotherapy every day, every week or every month. Types of Chemotherapy Chemotherapy varies, depending on the type of cancer you have and the drug(s) you receive. You may get treatment in one or more of the following ways: Orally (by mouth in pill or liquid form) Topically (applied to the skin) Intramuscularly (injected into a muscle) Subcutaneously (injected under the skin) or Intravenously (injected into a vein). Chemotherapy by mouth, on the skin or by injection feels the same as taking other medications by these methods. Intravenous chemotherapy feels like having blood drawn for a lab test, but the needle stays in place longer. Chemotherapy also may be delivered to specific areas within the body by a tube called a catheter. The catheter can be placed into the spine, abdomen, bladder or liver. You may get your chemotherapy as an outpatient in the Infusion Room of our Outpatient Department, during a Hospital stay or at home. The decision about where you receive your chemotherapy depends on which drug or drugs you are getting. Receiving Your Treatment Treatments such as infusion therapy, blood transfusions, injections, or central line care require a scheduled appointment. The doctor and pharmacy take special precautions to mix and dispense the correct medications specially targeted to the type of cancer you have. The pharmacy will not mix or dispense any medications until a doctor has given their approval to proceed and the patient is actually present in the appropriate treatment area. It takes, per patient, 60-90 minutes from the time the pharmacy receives the doctor’s order until the pharmacy hands the medication to the nurse to give. Please be sure to include in your schedule the time needed to get pre-medications / fluids as well as the time needed for your post treatment care. These all add to your total length of treatment and to the total time you will spend in the infusion center. For example, what your doctor describes as a “three hour” chemotherapy visit may actually take five-six hours by the time the pharmacy gets the orders, mixes the medication, dispenses it, pre-medications including the “wait time” for them to take effect are given, the medicine is actually infused, and post treatment fluids are given. Throughout your treatment, registered nurses are available to help with any questions or concerns. Before starting treatment, your doctor or nurse should provide you with written information about what to drugs you will get, the length of your treatment and the most common side effects. When each treatment is over, be sure to schedule your next appointment with the infusion center before leaving the cancer center. Don’t forget to ask your doctor if it is okay for you to drive yourself to and from your treatments. The treatment area provides a limited assortment of refreshments. For treatments scheduled through lunch or over an extended period, you can bring your own meal or you could have a friend/family member purchase meal(s) from one of our two cafeterias. Side Effects Chemotherapy drugs are made to kill fast-growing cancer cells. But certain normal, healthy cells also multiply quickly. Chemotherapy affects these cells as well. When it does, side effects occur. Some of the more common side effects include nausea, vomiting, temporary hair loss, fatigue and loss of some blood cells. Your doctor and nurse will explain the specific side effects of your chemotherapy before you begin treatment. Then you will be asked to sign a consent form saying you understand the possible effects of your treatment. Your doctor and nurse can give you tips on managing the side effects, so remember to tell them if you have any. Daily Activities Eating well is important while you are undergoing treatment. Better nutrition helps you cope with side effects and fight infection more easily. If you lose your appetite, your doctor, dietitian or nurse can help you with hints about eating. Most people are able to continue working while they are being treated with chemotherapy. If the treatment makes you tired, you might consider adjusting your work schedule for awhile. Federal law requires many employers to accommodate for treatment needs. Monitoring Your Progress Throughout your treatment, you will have periodic physician exams, blood tests, scans and X-rays to measure how well your treatments are working. Don’t hesitate to ask the doctor about the test results and what they show about your progress. Radiation Oncology CLICK THIS LINK TO BE DIRECTED TO THE RADIATION ONCOLOGY SITE A doctor must refer you to be seen by a radiation oncologist. The Department of Radiation Oncology is located on the basement level of the Cancer Center. Radiation Oncology appointments can be scheduled at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center in Morgantown, or at the Fairmont Regional Cancer Center in Marion county, depending on the type of treatment you need. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am- 4:30 pm. The Department of Radiation Oncology at WVU Hospitals offers state-of-the-art radiation therapy. Each patient’s treatment course is individualized and based upon factors, such as diagnosis, and stage. The Department of Radiation Oncology will schedule your appointments for their services. To call the department directly dial 304-598-4500.