Taking oral chemotherapy at home

Your cancer treatment may include taking oral chemotherapy (chemo) at home. These are drugs you swallow to treat cancer. They may be tablets or capsules.

To make your treatment work as well as it possibly can, it’s important to follow the instructions you are given by the pharmacist.

Make sure you understand:

  • how much your dose is
  • when you should take each dose
  • if you take more than one drug, the order you should take them in
  • what to do if you miss a dose

It’s also important for you to store and handle your drugs safely.

  • Keep them out of reach of children and away from light, heat and moisture.
  • Swallow tablets or capsules whole. Don’t cut, chew or crush them.
  • Wash your hands immediately after handling.
  • Return any drugs that don’t get used to your pharmacy so they can be destroyed safely.

You might be worried about side effects when taking oral chemotherapy at home. Talk to your pharmacist or someone else on your healthcare team about what to expect. It can also be helpful to take notes about how you feel after you take your drugs.

Medical disclaimer

The information that the Canadian Cancer Society provides does not replace your relationship with your doctor. The information is for your general use, so be sure to talk to a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions or if you have questions about your health.

We do our best to make sure that the information we provide is accurate and reliable but cannot guarantee that it is error-free or complete.

The Canadian Cancer Society is not responsible for the quality of the information or services provided by other organizations and mentioned on cancer.ca, nor do we endorse any service, product, treatment or therapy.

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