This information describes what you should know when you start chemotherapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK), including when to call your doctor or nurse and what you should avoid while receiving chemotherapy.
Your nurse will give you additional information about your chemotherapy treatment, including information about the drug and the side effects you may have during treatment.
Avoid the Following During Your Chemotherapy Treatment:
- All vaccines, except for influenza (flu) and Pneumovax® (pneumonia) vaccines.
- Contact with anyone who was recently immunized with a live vaccine (such as rotavirus and chicken pox), including children and family members.
- Contact with anyone who has an infection.
- Dental work that isn’t necessary, including routine cleaning, unless your doctor says it’s okay.
- Aspirin, products that have aspirin, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.
- Read our resource Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) for more information.
- Over-the-counter medications other than as directed by your doctor or nurse.
- Taking more than 1 vitamin or supplement. If you’d like, you can take 1 standard dose multivitamin each day.
- Using enemas, suppositories, or rectal thermometers.
- Becoming pregnant.
- Read our resource Sexual Activity During Cancer Treatment: Information for Men or Sexual Activity During Cancer Treatment: Information for Women for more information.
- Sunbathing. If you need to be in the sun, use sunblock with an SPF of 30 or higher and wear long sleeves and a hat or scarf. Stay in the shade as much as possible.
- Manicures or pedicures.
- Coloring your hair.
- Hot tubs.
- Traveling long distances. If you must travel, speak with your doctor first.
You can find the resources in this list by searching our website, mskcc.org/pe, or you can ask your nurse.Back to top
Call Your Doctor or Nurse if You Have:
- A temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher
- Shaking chills
- Signs of infection, such as:
- Diarrhea (loose or watery bowel movements)
- Flu-like symptoms (cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headaches, fever, or feeling more tired than usual)
- Needing to urinate more often that usual or burning during urination
- Red, swollen, or tender area(s) on your skin
- Signs of bleeding, such as:
- Black stool
- Faint red rash
- Bleeding from your nose
- Not had a bowel movement in 2 days
- Swelling or redness on your arms or legs
- Not been able to eat or drink
- New or worsening pain
- Any problems with your teeth or mouth
- Any other new or unusual symptoms
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