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 common side effects that you may experience. Contact telephone numbers and details of how to obtain further information 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.
What is carboplatin and why am I having it?
Carboplatin is a chemotherapy used to treat your type of testicular cancer (seminoma). One dose of carboplatin after surgery reduces the chance of your cancer returning.
Will I need any tests before I have my chemotherapy?
Before your treatment can be given you will have a kidney function test (EDTA). This helps us calculate the correct dose of carboplatin for you.
How will my chemotherapy be given?
Carboplatin is given through a drip into a vein in the back of your hand or arm. Please allow about 1½ hours for your appointment. 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.
Can I bring relatives and friends with me?
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.
What are the possible side effects?
There are a number of possible side effects. The doctor, nurses and pharmacists can answer any questions you have.
It is very rare to experience hair loss with carboplatin.
Nausea and vomiting are uncommon these days as we will 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 please contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice.
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 below 35.5°centigrade. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
Diarrhoea is not common. However, if you have four or more bowel movements in 24 hours above what is normal for you please contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately.
Tiredness and fatigue
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.
Your mouth may become sore or you may notice small ulcers. Please follow the advice on caring for your mouth in the general chemotherapy leaflet.
You may have a temporary drop in sperm production for a couple of months but your fertility will not be permanently affected. It is important you do not father a child whilst having chemotherapy treatment, and for at least 6 months after, as chemotherapy could damage the unborn baby.
Allergic type reaction
A small number of patients have an allergic type reaction whilst receiving carboplatin. If this occurs you may feel hot or flushed, itchy, light-headed or generally unwell. This is easily treated. Please tell your nurse immediately if you feel unwell.
Carboplatin can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. It is best to avoid strong sunlight, wear a hat and use a sun block.
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.
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.
Manufacturer’s patient information leaflets
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
Contact telephone numbers
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
Urology Specialist Nurse 029 2061 5888 ext 6991
Tenovus freephone 0808 808 1010
This information is also available in Welsh
This leaflet was written by health professionals. The information contained in this leaflet is evidence based. It has been approved by doctors, nurses and patients. It is reviewed and updated every 2 years.
Reviewed November 2015