The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Pre-chemotherapy assessment

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Pre-chemotherapy assessment (usually shortened to pre-assessment) is located in Oncology Outpatient Department, on level 1 in Bexley Wing.  We are a small team of nursing staff who work closely with the medical teams and there are two doctors who support the unit.

Prior to your first chemotherapy treatment you will be given a pre-assessment appointment. It is an opportunity for the nursing team to introduce themselves and get to know you.  We will discuss with you how you are feeling before your chemotherapy starts and try and ensure we make a plan of how we can support you through your chemotherapy journey.  We will answer any questions you may have about your treatment and to make sure that you have the relevant information to manage any possible treatment side effects. This appointment may last an hour and may include blood tests, observations of blood pressure, pulse, weight and a urine test.  During the appointment you will also be given an opportunity to visit the Oncology Day Case Unit (often referred to as J80) where chemotherapy is given.

Depending on the chemotherapy treatment you are having, you may need to return to pre-assessment between treatments for review by a nurse or doctor. Sometimes this assessment is carried out on the phone.

If you need more blood tests, it may be possible for them to be taken at your GP practice, if this more convenient for you.  The nurse at your pre-assessment appointment will be able to tell you if your GP practice offers this service.

Should you need them, we are able to make referrals to the wide range of people that are in the care team, such as dieticians, social workers and community nurses.

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Some patients benefit from having their chemotherapy given directly into their veins.  It is diluted in a carrier liquid and given at a controlled rate.  Often this infusion needs repeating and to reduce the number of times that we have to put a needle into you, some patients are suitable to have a central venous access device fitted.  This is placed either by a nurse-led team or in Bexley wing theatres.  These devices are placed into a much bigger vein and can stay in for long periods of time (as much as a year in some cases).  They can provide a great option for patients with poor veins or who need to have a chemotherapy infusor at home.  The main types of central lines used here in Leeds are Hickman lines, PICC lines and port-a-caths.  If you could benefit from one of these, the pre-assessment team will arrange your appointment for insertion and they are experienced in their care afterwards.