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FAQ: Hematology / Medical Oncology Treatment and Side Effects

How do I schedule an appointment?
Please call (805) 563-5800 to schedule an appointment. Our scheduling office is open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 to 5:00 and Fridays from 8:00 to 12:00.
What do I do if I am unable to keep a scheduled appointment?
Please call 563-5800 as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment. Cancellations received with less than 24 hours’ notice will be subject to billing.
Where do I come for my chemotherapy treatment?
Our Santa Barbara office is located at 540 W. Pueblo Street, several blocks west of Cottage Hospital. We have plenty of patient parking spaces behind the building. The parking lot can be accessed from Pueblo Street or from Junipero Street. For North County patients, our Solvang treatment center is located at 2040 Viborg Road, Suite 140. For maps, visit our locations page.
How is my chemotherapy scheduled?
Chemotherapy is typically given in cycles. A cycle (treatment followed by a period of rest) is usually one through four weeks long. Your course of chemotherapy is made up of multiple cycles. Each course is different, but generally consists of four to six cycles.
How long will my treatments take each day?
The administration of the chemotherapy drugs can take minutes to several hours, depending on the drug or drugs given. Your physician or nurse can advise you on how long you should plan to be here for treatment.

I have a planned vacation. Can I take time off from my chemotherapy treatments? Can I miss treatments?
If you know you have travel plans, it is best to discuss your plans with your doctor early in the planning process or before your treatment begins.
How do I contact my doctor?
During regular business hours, call (805) 563-5800.
In emergency situations, call 911.
To leave an after-hours message for your doctor or any other staff, please call our main number, (805) 563-5800, and leave a message. Your call will be returned after 8:00 a.m. the next business day.
If you need to speak with a physician outside of regular business hours, call our regular number, (805) 563-5800, and follow the instructions for contacting the Cottage Hospital operator.
What if I have a medical question that is unrelated to my chemotherapy?
Call your primary care physician with issues, questions or concerns unrelated to your chemotherapy or cancer diagnosis. In an emergency, please report to the nearest hospital emergency room.
What side effects should I expect? Will the chemotherapy treatments make me sick?
Side effects will depend largely on the chemotherapy drugs you receive. Your physician will review the side effects of your treatment with you. The most common side effects of chemotherapy are low blood counts, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, and fatigue. If you have questions about side effects during treatment, please call the triage nurse at 563-5825.

Will I lose my hair?
Hair loss occurs with some, but not all, chemotherapy drugs. The amount of hair loss varies from a slight thinning to complete baldness and affects the scalp, eyelashes and eyebrows, legs, armpits, and pubic area. Hair loss typically begins one to three weeks after your first treatment, and usually begins to grow back two to three weeks after treatment is finished. The hair may grow back a different color or texture.
Our Santa Barbara office has a wig and hat boutique.
Can I drive myself to treatments?
Chemotherapy will not impair your ability to drive. However, some of the pre-medications, such as Benadryl, can cause drowsiness. You will be told at your teaching appointment if you will be receiving these pre-medications. We recommend that you have a ride to and from your first chemotherapy appointment. After the first appointment, you can decide whether you feel well enough to drive yourself.
Can I work while receiving treatments?
The answer to this question depends on how you are feeling, the type of treatment you are receiving and your type of work. Although it may be necessary for some cancer patients to take a leave of absence from work, many continue working throughout their treatment and recovery. Ask your doctor about what you can expect. Just remember, each patient handles and responds to treatment and recovery differently. It is also important to openly communicate your needs with your employer so that he/she may plan in case you need to decrease your hours, schedule an absence, or have increased flexibility.

If your question wasn’t answered, please call 805-563-5800.