This information explains what to expect during your treatment at the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center infusion unit.
The infusion unit is located on the 3rd floor. Each private room has an adjustable recliner and extra chairs for your guests, as well as a television, DVD player, and wireless Internet service for your entertainment. Coffee, tea, crackers, and filtered water are also provided. Warm blankets and a pillow are available for your comfort.
Your treatment visit may last several hours. During your visit:
- You may have an appointment with your doctor or nurse practitioner before your treatment.
- You may have your blood drawn to be sure that your blood counts are in a safe range for treatment.
- Specially trained nurses and pharmacists will check the strength of the chemotherapy your doctor ordered for you.
- The pharmacy staff will prepare your medication and chemotherapy.
Some medications and chemotherapy take longer to prepare than others, so waiting times vary. As we’re preparing your treatment, we take many steps to make sure you’re safe. Treatment times are also different for everyone; some treatments are short and others take several hours. If your treatment is longer, or if you’re getting treatments for a clinical trial, you may need to have your appointment in the morning to make sure there’s enough time.
Getting Ready for Your Treatment
- Dress comfortably
- Eat a light meal before you come
- Stay hydrated by drinking water or other non-caffeinated liquids
- Pack some snacks or a light lunch to bring with you
- Arrive on time
When You Arrive
- If you were told you need a fingerstick blood test, stop at the lab on the 1st floor.
- See your doctor or nurse practitioner, if you have an appointment with them. Check your schedule to see the time of your appointment in the infusion unit. There will be time between your appointment in the clinic and your appointment in the infusion unit. This time is used to check your orders and prepare your medication.
- If you don’t have to see your doctor or nurse practitioner, check in at the reception desk in the lobby of the 3rd floor no more than 15 minutes before your appointment time. You will be taken for treatment according to your appointment time, not your arrival time.
- This is a good time to leave new prescriptions or request refills at the outpatient pharmacy, located next to the treatment suite. They will be ready when your treatment is finished.
- There is a Chemo Information Session Assistant available on the 3rd floor to answer any questions for you. If you leave the waiting room, give them a cell phone number or ask for a pager so that we can reach you when your treatment is ready.
The Treatment Process
- When your medications and chemotherapy are ready, the Session Assistant will bring you into a private room in the infusion unit.
- You will be asked to state and spell your name and birth date many times. This is for your safety. People with the same or similar names may be having treatment on the same day.
- Specially trained nurses will be with you during your treatment. To shorten your wait time, you may not be treated by the same nurse at each visit. However, all the nurses will know about your treatment.
- Before your treatment, your nurse will check your symptoms and discuss your treatment for that day. This is a good time to ask questions, if you have any.
- For most treatments, your nurse will insert an intravenous (IV) line in your arm. If you have an implanted port, such as a MediPort®, your nurse will access it with a special needle.
Before Leaving the Treatment Suite
- Your nurse will go over any instructions related to your treatment. If you have any questions, please ask.
- Schedule your next appointment with the session assistant at the checkout desk in the waiting area.
- Pick up prescriptions or refills at our pharmacy located next to the treatment suite.
- A nurse will call you 1 to 3 days after your 1st treatment to see how you’re feeling.
- If you have questions that can’t wait or any unexpected symptoms, call your doctor’s office.
Other Services at the Evelyn Lauder Breast Center
Many supportive services are available to you at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK). Ask your nurse for the resource MSK Support Services, or search for it on our website www.mskcc.org/pe. Some examples of services available are:
- Nutritionists can speak with you about your diet during chemotherapy. Speak with your nurse or session assistant if you would like an appointment.
- Social workers are available to meet with you privately, or you can join one of our support groups.
- Integrative medicine providers are available in the infusion unit to provide short massages and other services to help you relax during your treatment.
- A chaplain is available to meet with you privately during your visit, or to talk by phone.
- Other services and their locations are listed below:
- Library- 2nd floor
- Boutique- 2nd floor
- Pharmacy- 3rd floor
- Psychiatry- 2nd floor