Medical Oncology | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

Medical Oncology

Our chemotherapy, immunotherapy and intravenous cancer treatment facility is one of the biggest in New South Wales. Cancer care is underpinned by a specialist research program designed to get you the very best outcomes from your treatment.


About us

The medical oncology unit at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is supported by the biggest clinical trials facility in New South Wales. Our patients have access some of the latest medicines before they are made widely available and our specialists maintain a cutting-edge understanding of cancer and its treatment.

We take a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care, bringing together a concentration of expertise, including doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. You will benefit from comprehensive information and support from a wide range of experts, all delivered within the one integrated cancer care plan.

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is the use of powerful drugs to destroy or slow the growth of cancer cells.

It is one of a number of treatment options for cancer, which may include radiation therapy, surgery and other therapies. Treatment can involve a single drug, or a combination of drugs given around the same time.

Chemotherapy may be given:

  • To destroy  cancer completely.
  • After surgery or radiation therapy, to ‘clean up’ any remaining cancer cells too small to see. This will minimise the chance of the cancer reoccurring.
  • Prior to surgery or radiation therapy, to shrink the cancer and increase the success of the other treatment.
  • In cases where a cure is not possible, to improve symptoms, shrink the cancer and prolong life.

You may be given a wide range of treatments depending on the type of cancer, what stage it is and your health in general. These may also include targeted therapy, immunotherapy or hormonal therapy.

These treatments are all given in our Day Therapy unit, located on Level 1. You may also come to day therapy for blood transfusions, blood products or other therapies to support you through treatment-related side effects. If you have any questions about chemotherapy, our receptionists will be able to help.

Preparing for treatment

Have a good night’s sleep. Turn off all screens an hour before bed and have a soothing drink such as warm milk and honey or herbal tea. Read, listen to relaxing music and know our team is dedicated to to providing you with expert, compassionate care.

Start drinking fluids such was water, diluted fruit juice or cordial. This helps to plump up the veins and protect the kidneys which filters the therapies out of the body when finished. It is recommended that people receiving chemotherapy drink 2-3 litres of fluid on the day of treatment, and for two days after to flush out the treatment, unless your doctor has told you otherwise.

Eat normally before treatment. Have breakfast and take your regular medication including any pre-medication prescribed by your medical oncologist.


Blood tests

You need to organise to have a blood test before your treatment in Day Therapy – ideally the day before.

The results of your blood test will give your care team crucial information to make decisions regarding your treatment. If you are travelling to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse from a distance, ask a day therapy nurse to give you a pathology request form that you can use to get your blood test closer to home.

Support for you and your family

With a holistic approach to cancer care, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is committed to treating the whole person. Find out about allied health and complementary therapies available to you and your loved ones during your treatment.


Checking in to Day Therapy

Check in at Day Therapy reception when you arrive. When your treatment is ready, a nurse will call your name or ring you on your mobile.

There are many factors which influence the timeliness of your treatment and we recommended you don’t make any other appointments on your treatment day outside of Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. This excludes appointments with your doctors at Lifehouse or with the integrative medicine team.

During treatment

One of our volunteers will stop by your treatment chair with a selection of sandwiches or you can bring your own food or buy it from our café. We provide you with a Sony entertainment tablet which has TV, radio and WiFi on it. We can draw the blinds, dim the lights, recline the lounge chair and give you a warm blanket if you prefer to sleep

Frequently asked questions

Treatment can take anywhere from half an hour to up to eight hours. Some treatments continue overnight in hospital or over a number of days, and some are delivered through a take-home pump.

Your doctor will tell you how long your treatment is planned for.

The length of your treatment will depend on your cancer type, how it responds to treatment and your ability to tolerate the treatment.

Treatment is usually delivered in cycles with periods of rest in between, to allow the normal cells in your body to recover. These can be given over a few days, weeks, or months, and some on a long-term basis.

Some treatments are as short as one quick injection, other treatments may use a drip through a vein, or an implanted access device. These may be drugs that prevent nausea or side effects or may be chemotherapy drugs.

Many people bring themselves to and from treatment, however we recommend that on your first visit you bring someone with you for support.

Our nurses are here to support you on your first day whether someone comes with you or not. There is parking underneath the building.

After treatment

When your treatment has finished, the pharmacist may give you some anti-nausea pills to take home with you. If you are feeling sick, take your pill. You may prefer to have something light, like soup, for dinner. If you continue to feel sick, take the pills prescribed to you over the next few days. If they don’t relieve your nausea, if you feel unwell or if you can’t drink, call the day therapy nurse on 8514 0021 8:30am – 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

When to come to hospital

  • If you have a temperature of 38c or over
  • You can’t drink fluids because of nausea or vomiting
  • You are losing too much fluid from diarrhoea
  • If you are receiving immunotherapy treatment and have
    – Sudden extreme tiredness
    – Two episodes of diarrhoea
  • Or any of the above

Call the day-therapy nurse (02) 8514 0021 Monday – Friday 8-30am – 5:30pm.

After hours go immediately to your nearest emergency department.

Call on the on-call oncology registrar on (02) 8514 0000.


Information for GPs

To refer a patient to a medical oncologist, download a general referral form.  Alternatively, send a referral letter to the appropriate oncologist. All referrals must indicate a specific clinician. A list of our oncologists is available here.

Send the completed form by fax to (02) 9383 1014 and include any relevant test results showing anomalies.  Once this is received, the referral will be triaged by our patient navigation team, and we will contact the patient to arrange an appointment.

Contact Us

Day Therapy – Level 1
Chris O’Brien Lifehouse
119-143 Missenden Road,
Camperdown NSW 2050
Cnr Missenden & Salisbury Rd

Telephone: (02) 8514 0151
Fax: (02) 9383 1014

Visitor Information
Find out more about public transport options, parking and our free shuttle bus.


Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is located on Missenden Road, Camperdown.  Please refer to the above.

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