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Unintentional contact with cancer drugs can occur when handling the medication or when exposed to the blood, vomit, stool or urine of a chemotherapy patient. Small amounts of chemotherapy drugs may be present in the bathroom or laundry. Follow these home care instructions to protect yourself, your family and the environment.

  • Keep all medications out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Wear disposable safety gloves when handling chemotherapy.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling chemotherapy.
  • Do not break, crush, or chew medication.
  • Take medication as prescribed by your physician.
  • If you miss a dose, do not double your next dose.
  • Call your physician if you have difficulties with swallowing your medication.

Disposing of Bodily Waste

While receiving chemotherapy and for 48 hours afterward:

  • Wear disposable safety gloves.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet.
  • Toilets should be double-flushed each time they are used with the lid down.
  • All caregivers must wear disposable safety gloves when handling your blood, urine, stool, or vomit.
  • Disposable items that are contaminated with blood, urine, stool or vomit should be sealed in zip-loc plastic bags for disposal.

Contaminated Linens and Carpet

While receiving chemotherapy and for 48 hours afterward:

  • Wear disposable safety gloves.
  • Double wash linens and or clothing apart from household laundry; use detergent and bleach if the fabric allows for it.
  • Use absorbent, disposable cleaning supplies (paper towels, etc.) on contaminated carpeting to pick up as much of the area as possible. Then the carpeting can be cleaned with carpet detergent. Rinse well with water.

Disposal of Unused Medication

(Only in the event that medication is PERMANENTLY discontinued and there is no chance you will be put back on it in the future)

  • Do not crush pills or open capsules.
  • Take medication to an “Unwanted Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Program”. CVS in Quincy provides a bin near the pharmacy counter to dispose of unwanted medication.
  • If you are unable to take your medication to a disposal program or one is not available in your area then it is acceptable to do the following:
    • Take medication out of the original container and put into a sealable plastic container (laundry detergent bottle, milk jug, etc.).
    • Mix with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter.
    • Seal container and place in regular trash.