Frequently Asked Questions

This information is intended for the patients, friends and families of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

It has been created to answer many of the questions you may have about your treatment, how to prepare and what it will be like. It also contains suggestions about caring for yourself during treatment.

Should I eat before treatment?

Many patients worry about eating before their treatment. Please eat according to your normal schedule, don't skip any meals and take your medications as scheduled.

Infusion Chemotherapy:
You may find it best to eat a light meal and avoid fried, spicy, or acidic foods prior to your treatment. Do NOT skip meals prior to treatment unless your doctor tells you to.

Oral Chemotherapy:
If you are taking chemotherapy by mouth, be sure to ask your medical team if you should take it with food or not.


How long will I be there?

It is best to plan on spending most of the day at the center for your first chemotherapy treatment. Some patients may have their treatment finished in several hours, but this is difficult to predict. Once you have received the first treatment, the staff will be better able to predict how long you should allow for all future treatments.

Infusion Chemotherapy:
The length of infusion chemotherapy treatments vary. This depends on the type of treatment you will receive and how you receive it. In addition to the treatment itself, additional time will be spent receiving anti-nausea medications, medications that prevent reactions, or hydrating fluids. You will also spend time learning about your treatment, having your questions answered and making plans for further treatments.

Chemotherapy medications are made after you have arrived and your doctor has approved the infusion. Many patients will experience waiting time while chemotherapy is prepared.

Continuous Infusion Chemotherapy:
Patients who receive continuous infusion chemotherapy through a pump device will need additional time for their appointment. This additional appointment time is used for the following activities:

  • learning how to manage the infusion pump at home,
  • identification of and referral to the home care agency that will provide your care in the home, and
  • setting up the infusion pump and verifying its calibrations and settings.

What should I bring?

Please bring the following items with you on the day of treatment:
  • Your insurance card
  • Your hospital registration (blue) card
  • The names and addresses of your referring physician and primary care physician
  • A list of the herbs and supplements you are currently taking
  • A list of all medications you are currently taking
  • A designated driver if this is your first treatment
  • Assistive devices such as canes or walkers that you use at home
  • Your education folder
  • Completed freinds and family form

These items are optional to bring with you on the day of treatment:

  • A portable cassette player, iPod, MP3 or compact disc player with relaxing music.
  • A small cooler with snacks, beverages and/or lunch for yourself (a refrigerator and microwave oven are available).

The Cancer Center offers several programs for patients and families while in the center that include:

  • A free wireless guest network for internet access. You must bring your own computer with a wireless network card to access this service.
  • iPod and iTouch loan program. These devices are offered to patients and families for loan while in the center. You may check these out at the Patient Education Resource Center at no cost. You will be asked to leave your drivers license at the center while your device is in use.

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Can I drive?

Arrange for a driver for your first chemotherapy treatment. You may receive medications that make it unsafe for you to drive. The length of treatment varies, making it difficult to anticipate a "pick-up" time after your treatment. If your driver is not staying with you, it is best that they are accessible and flexible about the time of pick-up. We will be happy to call your driver 30 minutes before you are done with your treatment.

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Can I bring my family to the infusion area?

Due to space constraints and safety concerns, only 1 adult visitor may accompany you to the infusion area. For their safety, children under 12 years of age are not allowed in the infusion area.

Friends and family Form: This form allows the infusion staff to discuss certain aspects of your treatment with designated individuals you name on the form. It does not allow friends or family to access your medical record or receive printed results in your behalf. A copy of this form can be found in the pocket of this handbook

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Is food available?

A small nourishment room is located within the infusion area. The refreshments are available free of charge for patients and include juice, coffee, tea, milk and crackers. We recommend patients bring a sack lunch and snacks for the day. Two microwaves are available. Other food services are available throughout the hospital.

Vending machines: These are located on Level 2 of the Cancer Center and Level B1 on the east entrance to University Hospital. Available 24 hours / 7 days per week. Vending is also available at the Infusion Cener at Canton.

Coffee / Snack Stand: Located on Level 2 of the Cancer Center on the bridge connecting the center to University Hospital. Some seating is available. Open Monday through Friday, 7am to 4:30pm.

Cafeteria: Level 2 of University Hospital. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Einstein Bagels: Level 2 of University Hospital. Available Monday through Friday, from 6am to 8pm and weekends 6am to 3pm.

Getaway n Play Café, featuring Subway: Located on Floor 2 of Children's and Women's Hospital. The café is available Monday through Friday 8am to 12 midnight and Saturday & Sunday 9am to 8pm.

Where Can I fill my prescriptions?

Cancer Center Building:
An outpatient pharmacy is located on the B1 level. Both prescription and non-prescription medications are dispensed or sold here.

Hours: Monday through Friday: 9am to 5:30pm.

University Hospital (Taubman Building):
An outpatient pharmacy is located on level 1 of the Taubman clinic building, near the main Information Desk. Both prescription and non-prescription medications are dispensed or sold here.

Hours: Monday through Friday: 9am - 6pm
Saturday: 9am - 4pm

Canton Clinic:
The Canton Infusion area does not have an outpatient pharmacy onsite.

Will my health insurance cover chemotherapy treatment costs?

It is important to talk to your health insurance plan about what costs it will pay for, BEFORE you begin chemotherapy treatment. The Chemotherapy and You [pdf] booklet offers questions to ask your health insurance plan on page 7. The UM Cancer Center Billing and Customer Service Office staff is available to discuss questions about chemotherapy costs and billing. They can be reached at 734-647-5120.

Information about financial assistance and counseling at the UM Cancer Center can be found in the Patient & Family Support Services Handbook, at the Patient Education Resource Center or on our financial services web page.

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