This leaflet provides information on carboplatin chemotherapy. It will explain what this is and when and how it is given. It will also tell you about possible side effects. Contact telephone numbers and details of how to obtain further information on carboplatin are given at the end of the leaflet.
This leaflet should be read alongside the ‘General information for patients receiving chemotherapy’ leaflet. If you haven’t received this leaflet, please ask your nurse for a copy.
Carboplatin is a chemotherapy that is given in a drip.
Your doctor has prescribed this chemotherapy because it has been found to be effective in treating your type of cancer.
For this treatment to be most effective it is given at specific time intervals. These are known as cycles. It is usual to have a cycle of carboplatin every 3 weeks for up to 6 cycles. Some patients may receive this treatment weekly for up to 18 weeks. Your doctor will discuss the exact number of cycles you will receive.
You will see the specialist team before each cycle. You will have regular blood tests and we will check how you are feeling and discuss any problems you may have. This is so we can check how the chemotherapy is affecting you. If your blood results are satisfactory, your chemotherapy will be prescribed.
Your treatment will usually be on a different day to your clinic appointment. The chemotherapy treatment takes about an hour. Please allow an extra 30 minutes for your first treatment.
You are welcome to bring someone to stay with you during your treatment. Space is limited so there is not usually room for more than one person. Treatment areas are not suitable for young children.
Carboplatin is given through a drip into a vein in the back of your hand or arm. If needed we may suggest that a fine tube called a PICC is inserted into a large vein in your upper arm. This will remain in place throughout your treatment. Your doctor or nurse will discuss this with you and give you a leaflet, if required.
There are a number of possible side effects which can occur. The doctor, nurses and pharmacy team can give you advice or answer any questions you may have.
It is unusual for patients to lose their hair with this chemotherapy. However, occasionally some patients receiving chemotherapy may experience hair thinning.
Nausea and vomiting are uncommon these days as we give you anti-sickness medicines which are usually extremely effective. If you are sick more than once in 24 hours despite taking regular anti-sickness medicine contact Velindre Cancer Centre. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
You are at an increased risk of picking up infections because your white blood cells which help fight infections can be reduced by this treatment.
If you develop an infection whilst your white blood cells are low, you are at risk of sepsis, this can be life threatening.
Contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately if you develop any signs of infection, for example flu like symptoms or a temperature above 37.5°centigrade or if your temperature is below 35.5°. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
Diarrhoea is not common with carboplatin. However, if you have 4 or more bowel movements in 24 hours above what is normal for you, contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
You may feel more tired than usual. It is important to listen to your body and rest if you need to, but carry out your normal activities if you feel able. Some people find it beneficial to take gentle exercise as well as rest.
Carboplatin can cause you to become anaemic, it is common for patients receiving carboplatin to require a blood transfusion. Your team will monitor your bloods to check for anaemia.
A small number of patients experience an allergic type reaction. If this occurs you may feel hot or flushed, itchy, light-headed or generally unwell whilst receiving your carboplatin. This can be easily treated. Please tell your nurse immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms.
It is important that you do not become pregnant or father a child during your course of chemotherapy treatment, or for at least six months after treatment. This is because chemotherapy can harm an unborn child.
A diagnosis of cancer can increase your risk of developing a blood clot (thrombosis), and having cancer treatment may increase this risk further. It is important to tell your doctor immediately if you have symptoms such as pain, redness and swelling in your leg, or breathlessness and chest pain.
Blood clots can be very serious. However, most clots can usually be successfully treated with drugs to thin the blood. Your doctor or nurse can give you more information
Breastfeeding during chemotherapy is not advised as the drugs could be passed to a baby through breast milk.
Your team will monitor your bloods to check how your kidneys are working, as Carboplatin can sometimes affect your kidneys
Carboplatin may also affect your hearing, please inform your team if you have any ringing in your ears or hearing loss.
Sometimes carboplatin can cause tingling or numbness of the hands and feet, please inform your team if you experience these symptoms.
Sometimes cancer drugs can have very serious side effects which rarely can be life threatening. It is important to inform Velindre cancer centre if you are concerned about any side-effects
Velindre leaflets provide information about very common and commonly reported side-effects (we are unable to list all of the common side effects), for more information regarding these and the less common side-effects please refer to the manufacturers patient information leaflets, obtained from Velindre pharmacy and/or on the internet at www.medicines.org.uk. Sometimes patients may find these leaflets difficult to read however. Please ask if you would like a copy from your doctor or from Velindre pharmacy
Velindre Cancer Centre 029 2061 5888
Ask for the treatment helpline if you are unwell at home and need immediate advice at any time of the day or night. For example you should phone if you:
Pharmacy department 029 2061 5888 ext 6223
Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm for queries about your medicines
Macmillan freephone Helpline 0808 808 0000
Tenovus freephone 0808 808 1010
This information is also available in Welsh
This leaflet was written by health professionals. The information is evidence based and has been approved by doctors, nurses and patients. It is reviewed and updated every 2 years.