At this point, you have probably talked to your family, your boss, and your close friends. You have probably lined up a support network of loved ones who can help during chemotherapy (chemo) when you are not feeling well enough to do your daily chores and run your own errands. These are very good things to have as you begin your chemo treatment.

It may help to think ahead to what you want to tell people who are outside your close social circle. You may have telltale signs that reveal to others that you are undergoing chemo. For instance, you may have hair loss or extreme fatigue. It's good to know what you want to say so you can handle questions people may have. Some people don't mind telling acquaintances. Others wish to keep the whole matter private. Of course, how you handle it is up to you. But it's good to think it over, so you are prepared for whatever may come up.

Last Minute Thoughts

Think about the best support you can get during chemo:

  • Have you arranged for a ride and company to your first chemo treatment?
  • Have you made a working list of what friends and family can do for you during this time?
  • Have you made a list of questions you want to ask your doctor and care team?
  • Have you had discussions about how best to manage potential chemo side effects?
  • Have you had a heart-to-heart with your caregiver? Does he or she know what you expect in terms of support?
  • Have you prepared your family for what it might be like?
  • Have you researched or asked your doctor or nurse about cancer support groups for yourself or your caregiver at your clinic, hospital, or in your area? It's a good idea to write this info down, even if you don't think you will use it.
  • If you think you might need specialized support as you go through chemo (for example, a psychologist, social worker, or physical therapist), research or ask your doctor for names and numbers of local therapists. It's a good idea to get this information, even if you are not sure you will use it.
  • Have you spoken to others who are close to you for emotional and spiritual support?
  • Are you happy with the info your doctor and care team have provided?
  • Do you feel that you know what to expect from chemo?

Learn more about managing chemo side effects.

  • The Chemotherapy and Infection Discussion Guide can help you understand your
    risk of infection

    Infection can be a serious side effect of strong chemo. Find out the factors that affect your risk of infection. Simply answer a few questions, and then print your results to share with your doctor.

    Use the Chemotherapy and Infection Discussion Guide to find out more.