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Mitomycin (5-FU) 264 and 910

Mitomycin (5-FU) 264 and 910

This leaflet provides information on a course of chemotherapy called 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and mitomycin with radiotherapy.  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 and details of how to obtain further information on this chemotherapy are given at the end of the leaflet.

This leaflet should be read alongside the ‘General information for patients receiving chemotherapy’ leaflet and the booklet about your radiotherapy.  If you haven’t received these then please ask your nurse for copies.

What is 5-fluorouracil and mitomycin chemotherapy and radiotherapy?

This is a chemotherapy treatment which consists of two drugs plus a course of radiotherapy:

  • 5-fluorouracil (known as 5-FU for short) which is given through a small portable pump
  • Mitomycin which is given as an injection
  • A course of radiotherapy which is given 5 days a week (Monday – Friday)

Why am I having this treatment? 

Your doctor has prescribed this treatment because it has been found to be effective in treating your type of cancer.

Radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments can give better results when given together than with either treatment given alone.  The aim of the treatment is to destroy any cancer cells in or near your tumour, and any cancer cells that may have moved to other parts of your body. 

How often will I receive my treatment?

Your radiotherapy will be given each weekday for 4,5 or 6 weeks depending on your treatment.

The 5-FU is given over 1 or 5 days in the first week of your radiotherapy and again for 1 or 5 days on days 22 to 26, or on your last week of chemotherapy. 

The mitomycin will be given once on your first week of treatment. 

How often will I see a doctor?

Your doctor will explain how often they need to see you.  In between your visits to the doctor you will be seen at least weekly by one of the chemotherapy nurses or radiographers.  You will have weekly 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.  

How will my radiotherapy be given?

You will receive radiotherapy treatment Monday to Friday. Each daily treatment is called a fraction, and takes just a few minutes.  You will not feel anything during your treatment, but you will hear a buzzing sound from the machine.

You radiotherapy booklet contains information about how your radiotherapy treatment is planned, how it is given and the possible side effects you may experience.  If you would like more information about your radiotherapy please speak to your radiographers.

How will my chemotherapy be given?

To receive this chemotherapy you will need to have a fine tube put into one of the large veins in your upper arm.  This tube is called a PICC line.  Your PICC line is usually put in about a week before you start your chemotherapy.  It will stay in for the whole course of your treatment.  Your doctor will explain this in more detail.  

The 5-FU is put into a bag which fits into a small portable pump.

  • This pump is attached to your PICC line
  • The pump fits into a bag, which you can wear fitted around your waist or pinned to your clothing
  • The pump is set to empty over 4 or 5 days
  • You will need to come back to the hospital after 4 or 5 days to have the pump removed

On the first day of treatment your chemotherapy nurse will inject the mitomycin into your PICC line.

How do I look after the portable pump? 

We will explain all about the pump, how it works and how to look after it.  We will give you written information as well.

How long will I be in hospital?

Each chemotherapy appointment will take about 30 minutes.  Please allow an extra 30 minutes for your first treatment.

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 of the chemotherapy?

This type of chemotherapy is usually very well tolerated and most patients don’t have many side effects.  The doctor, nurses and pharmacists can give you advice or answer any questions you may have.

Hair loss

You should not lose your hair with this chemotherapy. However, a very small number of patients may experience some hair thinning.


The 5-FU rarely causes sickness.  The mitomycin is more likely to cause sickness so we will give you some anti-sickness medicine before the injection.  We will also give you a supply of anti-sickness tablets to take for a few days. 

If you are sick more than once in 24 hours despite taking regular anti-sickness medicine when you are at home after your chemotherapy treatment please contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice.  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 below 35.5°centigrade.  The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.


You may have diarrhoea with this chemotherapy.  If this occurs it is important that you drink plenty of fluids.  Medication is available to control diarrhoea.  If you have four or more bowel movements in 24 hours above what is normal for you please contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately.  The telephone number is on page 8.

Tiredness 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 carry out your normal activities if you feel able.  Some people find it beneficial to take gentle exercise as well as taking rest.

Sore mouth

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.

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.  The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.

Blood clots

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 sore or watery eyes.  If this happens please tell your doctor or nurse at your next clinic appointment.

Mitomycin will harmlessly discolour your urine blue for a day after your chemotherapy.  If this lasts for more than 24 hours please contact Velindre Cancer Centre. 

Women sometimes find that chemotherapy treatment affects their periods.  They could become heavier, lighter or even stop altogether.  

It is important you do not become pregnant or father a child whilst having chemotherapy treatment as chemotherapy could damage the unborn baby.  

This chemotherapy can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.  It is best to avoid strong sunlight, wear a hat and use a sun block.

Rare side effects

A small number of people may experience lung problems following mitomycin treatment.  If you develop a dry cough or notice that you are short of breath please tell us at your next hospital visit.

Very occasionally mitomycin can damage your blood cells and kidneys.  The dose of mitomycin is carefully calculated to minimise this risk.  You will also have regular blood tests so that we can check how the chemotherapy is affecting your blood system.

Very rarely some people having this chemotherapy experience heart problems such as angina or palpitations.  If you have a heart condition or you take any heart medication please tell your doctor before you start chemotherapy.  If you wish to discuss this further please speak to your doctor. 

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.

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 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:

  • Are sick more than once in 24 hours
  • Have a temperature of 37.5°C or above or below 35.5°centigrade
  • Have diarrhoea
  • Have very sore hands or feet
  • Have discoloured urine for more than 24 hours

Pharmacy department 029 2061 5888 ext 6223

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

Tenovus freephone 0808 808 1010

cancer helpline 


This information is also available in Welsh

This leaflet was written by health professionals.  The information contained in this leaflet is evidence based. The leaflet has been approved by doctors, nurses and patients.  It is reviewed and updated every 2 years.