All patients on Systemic Anti-Cancer Treatment (SACT) including chemotherapy, are given a yellow alert card at the start of treatment. The card is credit-card sized to easily fit into a purse/wallet and should be kept with the patient at all times. It gives information to the patient and medical staff about the possible side effects of chemotherapy treatment including neutropenic sepsis.
Information for patients
- Chemotherapy can temporarily reduce your ability to fight infection. If you suddenly feel unwell and your temperature is above 37.5 ̊C (99 ̊F)/below 35 ̊C (95 ̊F) or if you do not have a temperature but you are feeling very unwell you may have neutropenic sepsis. Infections can develop rapidly and it is essential that you DO NOT DELAY in contacting the Acute Oncology Team on 01271 311579 or Out of Hours 01271 322577 Bleep 500.
- Important: Present the yellow alert card (to whoever treats you) should you become unwell.
- Medical staff need to know you are on SACT and this will ensure you are treated promptly. Early infections can be treated easily if you contact us – DO NOT DELAY!
- Not everyone will have side-effects from their treatment. There are several general side-effects associated with SACT. The main areas that can be affected are those areas where cells divide and grow quickly, such as your skin, hair, mouth, digestive system and your bone marrow (the spongy material filling the bones and where new blood cells are produced).
- In addition there are specific side-effects related to the individual chemotherapy drugs and you will have been given a separate information sheet by your consultant or at the pre-treatment visit.
Important advice to all patients
- You are strongly advised to keep a thermometer at home.
- During chemotherapy you are more prone to infections and bleeding.
- Even very slight symptoms may require URGENT TREATMENT and must not be ignored.
- You MUST contact the hospital immediately, day or night and NOT your general practitioner. Failure to follow these instructions could be life threatening.
- The list of symptoms is a general guide only. Advice must be sought for any change in your health. If unsure always contact the Acute Oncology Service for advice.