This leaflet provides information on a course of treatment called Lonsurf. The leaflet will explain what this is and when and how it will be given. It will also tell you about common side effects that you may experience. Contact telephone numbers are given at the end of the leaflet.
What is Lonsurf?
Lonsurf is a chemotherapy which is given as tablets.
Why am I having this treatment?
Your doctor has prescribed this treatment because it is believed to be effective in treating your type of cancer.
How often will I see the specialist team?
You will see the specialist team every 4 weeks. 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 treatment is affecting you.
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.
How should I take the Lonsurf tablets?
Lonsurf tablets should be taken twice a day. Try to take them at approximately the same time every day, one hour after food. The tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. They must not be chewed or crushed. The tablets come in two doses. Your doctor will decide how many tablets you will need to take.
You will take the tablets on days 1 to 5 and days 8 to 12. This will be repeated every 28 days. You must not take the tablets in between.
If you have a lactose intolerance you may not be able to take Lonsurf.
What should I do if I forget to take my tablets?
If you forget to take your tablets in the morning or evening, wait for the next dose. Do not take the missed dose.
Do not take more tablets if you vomit after taking them.
What if I take too many tablets?
Please contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately for advice. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
Please ask for the chemotherapy pager.
How should I store the tablets?
Your tablets should be stored in their original packaging and in a safe place away from children. They should be kept in a cool dry place (below 25oC).
Any unused tablets should be returned to the hospital Pharmacy or your local chemist for safe disposal.
What are the possible side effects?
This treatment is usually well tolerated but there are some possible side effects that you need to be aware of. The doctors, nurses and pharmacists can give you advice or answer any questions you may have.
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.
Lonsurf can reduce the number of red blood cells in your blood. These cells carry oxygen around the body. If the number of red blood cells is low, you may be tired and breathless. If you have any of these symptoms, you should contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet. If you are very anaemic, you may need a drip to give you extra red blood cells (blood transfusion).
Lonsurf can reduce the production of platelets (which help the blood to clot). This will increase your risk of bruising or bleeding. If you notice any excessive bruising on your body or bleeding such as nosebleeds or bleeding from your gums, you should contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
Effects on your bowels
Lonsurf can cause either constipation or diarrhoea. Diarrhoea is more common.
If you have diarrhoea it is important that you drink plenty of fluids. Medication is available to control diarrhoea. If you have 4 or more bowel movements in 24 hours above what is normal for you, you should stop taking your Lonsurf tablets and contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
If you have constipation it may be relieved by drinking plenty of fluids and eating lots of fibre. Your doctor can prescribe medication to relieve constipation.
Tiredness and fatigue
Lonsurf can make you 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.
Loss of appetite and sickness
You may experience loss of appetite, this varies from person to person and some people may have a problem with nausea and vomiting. If you do have these symptoms please tell your doctor or nurse. They can give you anti-sickness medication to take at home. If you are sick more than once in 24 hours despite taking regular anti-sickness medicine, contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
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. Your doctor may prescribe mouthwashes or medication to prevent or clear any infection.
If your mouth becomes very painful or you are finding it difficult to eat and drink, you should stop taking your Lonsurf tablets and contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
Lonsurf may cause a rash, itching, peeling, redness and blistering to the skin. If this happens telephone Velindre Cancer Centre.
Soreness to your hands and feet
You may experience mild pain, redness and swelling of your hands or feet. If this occurs we recommend using a non perfumed cream or lotion regularly. Please contact Velindre Cancer Centre if your hands or feet become painful.
Unfortunately you may experience hair thinning with this treatment. This is only temporary. Your hair will grow back when your treatment has finished.
We have a leaflet that tells you more about coping with hair loss. Please ask your nurse for a copy.
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.
Other side effects and information
Some patients experience abdominal pain, if this causes you problems, ring Velindre Cancer Centre, and inform when next in clinic.
Some people may experience problems with headaches and dizziness. Try taking the painkillers you would normally take for a headache. If you find that painkillers do not help or you have any problems with your vision please tell your doctor or nurse.
Lonsurf can cause problems with sleeping, see your GP if this becomes a problem.
Some patients may have tingling, decreased sensation or numbness to their hands and feet. Inform the doctor when in clinic if this occurs.
Sometimes patients develop shortness of breath or a cough, if this occurs ring the treatment helpline, the telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
Rarely, Lonsurf may cause heart problems. If you have a heart condition or you take any heart medication please tell your doctor before you start chemotherapy.
Is it alright to take other medicines?
If you are taking other medicines, vitamins or herbal remedies please let your doctor, nurse or pharmacist know.
There may be some medications you need to avoid.
It is important you do not become pregnant or father a child whilst having chemotherapy treatment as chemotherapy could damage the unborn baby.
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
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.