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Carboplatin and 5 Fluorouracil (5-FU) 270

Information about carboplatin chemotherapy and

5-fluorouracil (5-FU)


This leaflet provides information about a course of chemotherapy treatment called carboplatin and 5 fluorouracil (5-FU). It will explain what this is and how and when it will be given. It will also tell you about any common side effects you may experience. Contact telephone numbers and details of how to get more information about this chemotherapy are at the end of this leaflet.


You should read this leaflet alongside the ' General information for patients undergoing chemotherapy' leaflet. If you have not received this leaflet, ask your nurse for a copy.



What is carboplatin and 5 fluorouracil (5-FU) chemotherapy?

This is a course of treatment that includes two drugs:


  • Carboplatin
  • 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)



Why am I having this chemotherapy?

Your doctor has prescribed this chemotherapy because it is effective in treating the type of cancer you have.



How often will I have my chemotherapy?

In order for this treatment to be most effective, it is given at specific time intervals. These are called circles. It is usual to have a cycle of carboplatin and 5-FU every three weeks for up to six cycles. Your doctor will discuss with you the exact number of cycles you will have.



Will I need to stay in hospital for this procedure?

In order to have this treatment, you will need to stay in hospital for between 4 and 5 days for each cycle of chemotherapy. You will be taken to the chemotherapy unit at Felindre Cancer Centre. This is also known as the Princess Margaret Ward.


Will I need any tests before starting my chemotherapy?

You will need a series of blood tests before you start your chemotherapy. One of these blood tests helps us to make sure that your kidneys are working well enough to cope with chemotherapy.


How will my treatment be given?

Your chemotherapy is given through a drip into a vein in the back of your hand or arm. You will remain connected to the drip during your hospital stay. The drip is attached to a portable stand with wheels so you can move around the ward area. If you need help, a nurse will be on hand.


The carboplatin is given on the first day of each cycle and will usually be given over 1-2 hours on another unit in the hospital (usually the chemotherapy outpatient department). The 5-FU is given over the following four days.



What are the possible side effects associated with my chemotherapy?

There are a number of possible side effects that can arise with this chemotherapy. The doctors, nurses and pharmacists can give you advice or answer any questions you may have.


Loss of hair

You should not lose your hair with this chemotherapy. However, some patients will have thinning hair.



Nausea and vomiting are now uncommon as we will give you anti-nausea medicines, which are usually very effective. If you vomit more than once in 24 hours, even though you regularly take anti-nausea medication when you are at home after your chemotherapy treatment, contact Velindre Cancer Center for advice. The phone number is on page 7.



Your risk of catching infections will be higher as this treatment can reduce your white blood cells which help fight infections. Contact Velindre Cancer Center immediately if you develop any signs of infection, for example, flu-like symptoms or a temperature above 37.5°C. The phone number is on page 7.



You may get diarrhea with this chemotherapy. If this happens, it is important that you drink enough fluids. Medicine is available to control diarrhoea. If you open your bowel four times or more than is normal for you, contact Velindre Cancer Center immediately. The phone number is on page 7.


Fatigue and fatigue

Chemotherapy can make you feel more tired than usual. It is important to listen to your body and rest if you need to but you should continue with your normal activities if you feel able to do so. For some people, a little exercise can be beneficial as well as rest.


Sore mouth

Your mouth may be sore or you may notice small ulcers. Follow the advice on looking after your mouth in the general chemotherapy leaflet. Your doctor may give you a prescription for mouthwash or medication to prevent or clear up any infection.



Other side effects

Quite rarely, some people who receive this chemotherapy have heart problems such as angina or heart palpitations. If you have a condition that affects the heart or are taking heart medicine, tell your doctor before you start chemotherapy.


Chemotherapy treatment sometimes affects women's periods. They could get heavier, lighter or even stop altogether.


It is important that you do not become pregnant or become a father while you are having chemotherapy treatment as chemotherapy could harm the unborn baby.


This chemotherapy can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun. The best thing to do is to avoid strong sunlight, wear a hat and use sunscreen.





















Patient information leaflets from manufacturers

Copies of patient information leaflets from drug manufacturers are available from Felindre Pharmacy, or on the internet at These leaflets give detailed information about individual drugs. We do not routinely distribute them as they do not usually provide information on drug combinations and can be difficult to read. Please ask if you would like a copy.




























Contact telephone numbers


Felindre Cancer Center 029 2061 5888

Ask for the chemotherapy pager if you get sick at home and need immediate attention at any time of the day or night. For example, you should call in the case of:

  • If you vomit more than once over a 24 hour period
  • That you have a temperature of 37.5°C or higher
  • That you have diarrhoea



Pharmaceutical department 029 2061 5888 ext. 6223

Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm for inquiries about your medicines



Cancer helpline

Tenovus freephone 0808 808 1010

Monday – Friday 9am – 4.30pm for general cancer enquiries






This leaflet has been written by health professionals. The information in this leaflet is based on evidence. It was endorsed by doctors, nurses and patients. It is reviewed and updated every two years.



































Prepared October 2011