How Long Does Chemo Stay in the Body?

posted in: Cancer 0

So here we are primed for the 4th RCVP treatment. Husband is getting used to this but there’s always room for a little something to upset things. Last time it was an uncomfortable cannula (which he refused to complain about – he was just conscious that it ached – apparently it was probably irritating a nerve). Today the flow rate was very slow for some reason. The first lot of saline was pumped through, as was the Rituximab but the next saline flush was taking forever. The flow of drops should be quite brisk but the drops were rather solitary and lingering, as if not wanting to leave the comfort of the bag.

The nurse explained to Husband and a nurse new to the ward that since Vincristine is hard on the veins you don’t want the flow to be slow. The actual drug should take about 5 minutes to be administered – any longer and ‘you really won’t be doing your patient any favours’. Apparently it can really burn. What they want to do is get the stuff into the veins fairly promptly and send it on its way with a good saline flush so that it can’t linger and burn. She explained that the best thing to do would be to put another cannula in (adjusting the existing one wasn’t having the desired effect).

Husband could see that this was a good idea so encouraged her to do what she thought best. She put the second cannula in and we could see the effect immediately – good flow – lots of droplets making meaningful progress 🙂 .

We asked how long the drugs stay in the system. We’ve found nurses to be really happy to answer questions and it helps us to understand what’s going on. She explained that the kidneys excrete most of the drugs in 24 hours or so but that they then remain at low levels for a few weeks – depending on the drug. They time chemo sessions with each drug’s time frame in mind to ensure as best they can that there’s always some drug in the system. They want to avoid a significant gap with no drug working because that would give the cancer time to work.

Apparently the kidneys excrete both the drug and dead diseased cells. Yeahy kidneys 🙂 . So that’s why they’re so keen for Husband to drink a lot and so non bothered by the frequent peeing – it’s clearly good to get rid of what’s in his system.

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