What to expect

Clinic Appointments
Your treatment team will prepare you for any treatments or procedures. Your initial appointment will be just like a specialist doctor visit in a small consultation room. You need to report to reception to have your details checked and your weight entered in the system. We do need to ask for your details every time you visit us, even if you come regularly. There are a number of waiting areas for your comfort.

Chemotherapy Treatment
Chemotherapy affects everyone differently, so preparation will differ from one person to another. However, a number of general concerns are worth considering:

  • Stay healthy – eat a nourishing diet, drink lots of water, and get enough sleep, and balance rest and physical activity. (Good nutrition and exercise can help with some side effects).
  • Work – if you are working, talk to your employer about the time you may need off.
  • Discussions/Questions – If you are feeling anxious about the diagnosis and/or treatment, talk to you family member, friends or to you GP and/or nurse. Keep a list of questions for the Oncologist.
  • Check your teeth – It’s a good idea to visit you dentist for a checkup before chemo treatment begins. The dentist can check for any current mouth infections that may cause issues if chemotherapy affects your immune system.
  • Organise help at home – Consider asking a friend or family to help coordinate young children and/or older children during treatment sessions and possibly afterwards. Consider some support with housework and errands to ease the load.
  • Freeze some meals – You may not feel like cooking during the weeks of treatment, consider freezing meals ahead of time. Family and friends may arrange a meal roster to help out.


Treatment Side effects
The most common side effects are:

  • Fatigue
  • Appetite changes
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sexuality and fertility changes
  • Nerve, muscle and hearing effects
  • Skin and nail changes
  • Mouth sores
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Memory changes
  • Anaemia, infections and bleeding
  • Hair loss.

Before treatment begins, your doctor or nurse will discuss side effects to watch out for or report.

What to bring

  • Pack a chemo bag – a bag for your chemo sessions could include:
  • Warm clothing (layers in case you get cold)
  • Healthy snacks
  • Lip balm
  • Books, magazines, newspaper, crosswords, and a laptop or tablet
  • OR Bring a family member or friend.

Parking

Plan how you will get to chemo sessions. For your first session, arrange a driver as you won’t know how you will feel. There is paid parking underneath the building and timed, free, parking in the surrounding streets which varies from one to three hours. 

Chemotherapy diary

It can be useful to record information about your treatment in one place. This could be helpful to record details about side effects, how long they lasted, and what helped to reduce them.

Head of Department

Dr Robert Blum

Bendigo Cancer Centre
Ground Floor, Bendigo Hospital
Location

100 Barnard Street
Entry via Mercy Street, Bendigo, VIC, 3550

Phone

Medical Oncology: 5454 8815 Radiation Oncology: 5454 9234

How to refer your patient

Referring doctors are asked to provide a referral to Bendigo Cancer Centre. Other information that is required with the referral are:

  • Recent investigations (Pathology, Histology and Medical Imaging)
  • Relevant history

Please fax the information to 03 5454 8816.

Referral process

Medical Oncology
Triage of your referral will be completed by a Medical Oncologist.  We aim to complete triage on all referrals within 2 business days of receipt. This timeline will be exceeded if the referral is incomplete or of more information is required. In either of the above instances, you will be contacted to discuss what is needed.

Radiation Oncology
Radiation Oncology provides consultative services and a radiation therapy planning and treatment service. This service is operated by Peter Mac Cancer Centre. To refer a patient to Bendigo Radiotherapy Centre, please contact reception on 03 5454 9234.

Appointments
The Cancer Centre administration team will:

  • Phone the patient regarding appointment details
  • Send written confirmation of the appointment to the patient

Clinical service overview

The Bendigo Cancer Centre is a partnership between Bendigo Health and Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, which brings together Medical Oncology and Radiation Oncology treatment and consultative services, with the support of palliative care, allied health, specialist nursing staff, pharmacy and clinical trials.

The Oncology Unit is a day-stay unit providing a wide range of chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological response modifiers and symptom support. Patient care is provided by a multi-skilled team consisting of; medical oncologists, palliative care physicians, haematologists, medical oncology registrars and interns, clinical nurse specialists and oncology nurses who are specialists in chemotherapy administration and management and allied health professionals.

Useful Contacts
Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group 03 9656 1265 
Breast Cancer Network Australia - 1800 500 258 
Cancer Council Victoria
Cancer Institute NSW 02 8374 5600  
Cancer Voices NSW 
eviQ - Cancer Treatments Online
Leukaemia Foundation of Australia 1800 620 420 
Loddon Mallee Cancer Support
Loddon Mallee Integrated Cancer Service
Lymphoma Support & Research Association 07 3030 5050  
The Cancer Council Australia   
The Cancer Council Helpline  13 11 20  
Victoria's Cancer Action Plan
Virtual Cancer Centre
Head of Department

Dr Robert Blum

Bendigo Cancer Centre
Ground Floor, Bendigo Hospital
Location

100 Barnard Street
Entry via Mercy Street, Bendigo, VIC, 3550

Phone

Medical Oncology: 5454 8815 Radiation Oncology: 5454 9234