Chemotherapy and supportive treatments such as blood transfusions, are provided in our Oncology & Medical Day Unit.  The Medical Oncologist or Haematologist, in consultation with a multidisciplinary care team will determine your suitability to receive treatment at Kyabram Health, and you will remain under their care during your day admission.


Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancer. It works by destroying or slowing the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy mainly affects fast-growing cells, like cancer cells. Other fast-growing cells can also be affected, like the cells that cause hair to grow.  There are many different types of chemotherapy drugs. People will sometimes have several drugs in the one treatment and sometimes only one drug is given.

The aim of chemotherapy varies for different people.  It may be to:

  • Cure cancer
  • Slow cancer growth,
  • Relieve symptoms, and
  • Help other treatments such as radiation or surgery to work better.

Side Effects

Chemotherapy can cause different effects in different people.  Reactions may vary depending on the type of medications used and from one cycle to the next.  Common side effects may include:

  • Feeling tired and lacking energy
  • Appetite changes, nausea or vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Skin and nail changes
  • Mouth sores
  • Memory and concentration changes
  • Effects on the blood and immune system
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Changes in sexuality and fertility
  • Nerve and muscle effects

Most side effect are temporary and many can be controlled or reduced.  You should talk to your doctor or nurse about any concerns you have.

Preparing for Treatment

Chemotherapy affects everyone differently; however there are many ways you can prepare for chemotherapy:

  • Look after yourself
  • Organise help at home
  • Discuss your concerns
  • Freeze some meals
  • Talk to your employer
  • Check your teeth
  • Prepare for side effects

More information on Chemotherapy is available at Cancer Council Victoria website

Treatment Day

On the day of my treatment?

Eat your usual breakfast and, unless your doctor has advised you otherwise, take your usual medication.

When you arrive at the unit, please check in at the Main Reception. Prior to or on your first visit, you will be able to discuss your treatment and possible side effects with one of the nurses and you will have plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

You will be provided with a treatment and information pack. There is also a wide range of written information on cancer, cancer treatments and dealing with the side effects of treatment available. All information is available for you to take home.

You are welcome to bring a family member/support person to accompany you during your treatment. (COVID-19 restrictions permitting.)

What should I bring with me?

Some chemotherapy treatments can take several hours so you are welcome to bring something to read, music to listen to or a friend or family member for company. You may also wish to pack a chemo bag with some warm clothing, healthy snacks, lip balm, a laptop or tablet.  Free WiFi is available.

Morning tea, a light lunch and afternoon tea are provided at no cost. Please let nursing staff know if you have any particular dietary requirements.

Please bring a list of current medications you are taking, including over-the-counter preparations, such as vitamins, herbal or natural medicines and your Cancer Care Companion book if you have one.

What should I wear?

Please wear comfortable clothes with loose sleeves as most chemotherapy drugs are given through an IV drip that will be inserted into your arm.


It is a good idea to arrange for someone to drive you to and from your first chemotherapy treatment. You may be OK to drive home after your subsequent visits, but that will depend on what drugs you are given and how you feel.  Parking is free at Kyabram Health and signed Oncology parking space is reserved for use in the East carpark of Fenaughty Street.

Useful Resources

A list of useful resources is available on our Cancer Wellness Information Hub page.