Chemotherapy drugs and safety

This page covers chemotherapy safety and the types of chemotherapy drugs. It also describes who you can call for help and where you can find us

The types of drugs used for chemotherapy are strong. They can remain in the body for up to a week after treatment. You can then pass them out through your body's fluids. Friends and family can visit while you are having chemotherapy. This includes children and pregnant women. You must you follow these safety precautions though:

  • Put down the lid of the toilet seat when flushing to avoid splashing
  • Make sure that when you wash any clothing or bedding soiled with body fluids it is thorough and in a separate load. Wear rubber gloves when handling soiled clothes or linen 
  • Body fluids or chemotherapy medications may spill. If so, wear rubber gloves, soak up with paper towel, and wipe with soapy water and a disposable cloth. Then rinse it well with water
  • Seal used gloves and cleaning cloths in a bag before throwing them away
  • Rinse well with soap and running water if chemotherapy drugs touch your skin. Irritation may then occur and fail to resolve itself within an hour. Contact the hospital if that should happen
  • Use protection for any sexual intercourse and avoid pregnancy
  • Do not breast feed
  • Don't crush or break chemotherapy tablets
  • Store chemotherapy medications as directed by your treating team. Do not store them straight with other medications
  • Seal empty medication containers in a plastic bag. Return that bag with the containers to your hospital or pharmacy for disposal
For more information about safety during chemotherapy, speak to your treating team.

Who can I call for help about chemotherapy drugs and safety? 

In the case of a MEDICAL EMERGENCY CALL 000 

You can speak to medical or nursing staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week at Peter Mac. 

Monday to Friday, between 8 am and 6 pm, call: Day Therapy on (03) 8559 5330 

Outside these hours (evenings, weekends, and public holidays) 

  1. Call (03) 8559 5000  
  2. Ask for the Patient Services Manager

Please have your hospital PUR number ready when you call the hospital. This is your unique Patient Unit Record number. 

Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and staffed by experienced cancer nurses. They supply emotional and practical support. This support is available for:

  • Those affected by cancer 
  • Their carers  
  • Their loved ones



Day Therapy

Level 3, 3C Day Therapy 
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre 
305 Grattan Street 
Melbourne VIC 3000 


Day Therapy

  • Phone: (03) 8559 5308 

Related links


Related pages

Go back to the Chemotherapy page