Jess Jones’ comment this month started me thinking, why can’t ‘chemo suites’ be more like ‘chemo salons’? - with soothing optional extras. Hair dryers would not be required. Read on.

hats for hair loss

What to Wear to the Chemo Suite: An Occasional Series

If you’re having chemotherapy you’re going to be spending a lot of hours lounging around in the hospital. Some of the time will be spent sleeping, some of it reading and all of it with a needle stuck in your arm.

Wear loose comfortable clothes made of natural fibres so you don’t get too sweaty.

Make sure that your sleeves are loose enough to roll up so the nurses can insert your drips.

Choose something that won’t get all crumpled if you fall asleep in it.

It can be noisy in the chemo suite. Take an eye mask and a pair of earplugs if you want to get a good kip.

Don’t overdo the makeup or you’ll wake up with it smeared all over your face.

Wear clothes that are washable so you won’t have to worry about accidental blood stains, melted crumbs of chocolate and spilt tea.

Wear cashmere or wool socks to keep your feet warm.

Take a pair of light slippers to put on if you need to go to the loo.

You may find it more comfortable to take your wig off and wear a soft jersey beanie whilst you’re having the treatment.

If your hospital offers reflexology during chemo, wear loose trousers with socks, not stockings, so that the therapist can get at your feet.


Additional notes: Depending on whether you find it helpful or not, you may wish to keep a chemo diary. This is a brief record of how you felt after treatment i.e day 1-3 not great, 4-7 tired, day 8-20 back to normal. It’s a memory jogger for when the next treatment rolls round and can offer some reassurance that whatever the side effects, they don’t last forever.

It is worth asking at your treatment centre if alternative therapies are offered. Royal Surrey Guildford has the splendid Fountain Centre, which offers free treatments to cancer patients, thanks to their volunteer therapists. Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge has the Wallace Cancer Care Centre, a charity situated just outside the hospital offering alternative therapies. Often these facilities provide an oasis to retreat to when waiting for treatment and can provide a much needed break from the waiting room - even if it’s only for a cup of tea. Units provide beepers or staff will call through when your appointment becomes available.