What to take to your chemo session

Published: February 25, 2021

The moment you’re diagnosed with cancer, news comes at you thick and fast. You find yourself at many appointments and consultations – and before you know it, you’re straight into a treatment plan.
Often, that treatment is chemotherapy, which is accompanied by its own avalanche of information.  By the time your first session comes around, you’re probably still getting your head around what will be happening to your body.  So, it’s easy to forget about all the logistics. 

One thing that cancer patients who are starting treatment may forget to ask their consultant is what to take to your chemo session.  In fact, even if you ask them, they may not give you a detailed enough answer.

That’s why we’ve put together a check list of items you might want to pack, to help make chemotherapy sessions that little bit easier.

Plenty of layers –  Your temperature may fluctuate during your visit, and you won’t know what kind of climate the hospital is, so make sure you have multiple layers of clothing that you can add and remove.

Pillow and blanket – Handy for extra warmth, and to make your chemo session a bit more comfortable.

Food and drink – water is a really important item for your chemotherapy bag, as you need to stay hydrated.  You might also want to pack some snacks to keep you well fueled, particularly if you’re not keen on hospital food.

Lots of entertainment – chemo involves a lot of sitting around, so make sure you’ve got a good supply of books and magazines.  Other things you might want to consider are music and headphones, laptops and DVDs – even a board game, if it helps pass the time.

Journal – being diagnosed with cancer is the start of an emotional rollercoaster, and keeping a journal may help you process your feelings.  It can also be a source of inspiration to draw on when you’re having a bad day, or a place to vent if you don’t want to share your emotions with other people.

Chapstick – you’ll find your mouth and lips becoming very dry during treatment, so pack a chapstick to stop any blistering and cracking.

A good friend – OK, so technically you can’t pack them, but surrounding yourself with good company when you’re undergoing chemo can make a difficult time much more bearable.

It’s natural to feel nervous before you begin chemotherapy, and no amount of bag packing can truly prepare you; you just have put your best foot forward.  However, putting together your chemo survival kit gives you one less thing to worry about when treatment day comes around, and makes your hospital visits a lot more comfortable.

If you have any questions about cold capping, or anything else related to your chemo treatment, why not join the Facebook Chemotherapy Support Group – with thousands of members reaching out to each other, someone will no doubt be able to offer you first hand advice.