Chemotherapy FAQs

At the ONJ Centre we care for people touched by cancer every day and hear many questions. Here are some of the more frequently asked questions. If you do not find the answer you need, we recommend you speak to your doctor.

Yes, you are welcome to bring friends or family members with you to keep you company whilst you receive your treatment. If you have more than one person they can take it in turns sitting with you and are welcome to make use of the Info Lounge, Wellness Centre and Cafeteria area whilst they wait.

Depending on the type of cancer and the treatment, chemotherapy treatment can take from 30 minutes to eight hours.

Unless you have an Infusaport or a Hickman line already in place, you will have a needle inserted into your arm for administration of the chemotherapy via an intravenous drip.  The insertion of the needle may cause some discomfort. 

Your chemotherapy should not cause you any pain during the delivery of treatment. Nursing staff will monitor you regularly throughout the treatment for any discomfort. If you are experiencing discomfort, please let Day Oncology staff know.

There may be side effects, which will vary depending on the type of chemotherapy you have received. This will be discussed with you prior to your treatment commencing so you know what to expect. Many patients are able to drive themselves to and from their treatment, however it is important to have a support person with you for your first visit.

Yes. It is important that you eat your usual meal, drink plenty of fluids and take your usual medication before your appointment, unless told otherwise by your doctor or nurse. Drinking lots of water and keeping warm before your appointment can help staff to find a vein for your treatment.

Wear comfortable clothes with loose sleeves, as the nursing staff may need to take a blood test or put in an intravenous drip into your arm. If you have an infusaport or Hickman catheter, please wear clothes that allow easy access to your chest. Some people feel cold when they are receiving treatment so it is a good idea to bring something warm with you. If you are cold, please ask for a blanket.

Treatments can take several hours so you are encouraged to bring something to do, ideas include:

• books or magazines
• iPod or iPad
• laptop
• hand held games

Bring a current list of any medications or over the counter preparations you are taking and please advise the nurse who is looking after you at the beginning of your appointment if you need a prescription from the Day Oncology doctor. You should continue to get your regular prescriptions from your GP.

Morning tea, a light lunch and afternoon tea are provided but you are welcome to bring your own food and drinks.

Yes, you can use your mobile phone whilst receiving treatment however it is important you are considerate of other patients. Please keep the noise to a minimum and limit the length of your call.

WiFi access can be established for your mobile device.  Please discuss with your nurse if you are interested in arranging this. 

It is best to have someone drive you to and from your first appointment. Depending on your treatment, you may be able to drive yourself after your initial appointment.

Volunteer transport is available for some people. Ask at reception if you would like to access this service.

Most of the parking around the hospital is 2 hour metred car parking.   Wilson’s private parking is available in the Austin tower car park off Studley Road or Burgundy St.  Discounted car parking in the Austin tower is available if your treatment requires you to visit the centre at least once a week.  Please discuss eligibility for discounted car parking with your nurse in Day Oncology.  A “drop off zone” at the entrance to the centre on level 2 provides closer access to the Day Oncology unit.  

You may need to have a blood test within 24 to 48 hours of your Day Oncology treatment. You can have the blood test done at an Austin Pathology collection centre or an external pathology collection centre that is more convenient to your home.  This will be discussed with you by nursing staff at your first appointment and the appropriate pathology slips provided.

Day Oncology, ONJ Centre

+ 61 3 9496 5138

Monday to Friday 8am-5pm


Can't find what you need?

At the ONJ Centre in Melbourne, we have an information lounge on Level 3 with an extensive range or resources to help those living with cancer and undergoing treatment. For more information resources online, we recommend you explore trusted, credible websites. See our recommended website guide.