HazCom: Anticancer Medicines (Chemotherapy)
Anticancer medicines (also called chemotherapy) can save or prolong the lives of cancer patients. But they can pose a hazard to nurses and pharmacists who mix them or to housekeeping staff who clean up spills and remove waste. Follow the tips below, along with your employer’s safety standards, and you’ll help keep everyone safe.
Use PPE (personal protective equipment)
Wear PPE during preparation and administration of medicines.
Mix medicines in a safety cabinet. For extra safety, use negative-pressure hypodermic needles to withdraw medicines.
Clearly label medicines and equipment and replace any torn labels.
Hand-carry or transport materials in a leakproof container, such as a zipper-locked bag.
Dispose of waste
All medicine waste should be placed in sealed bags and discarded in properly labeled waste bins.
Clean up spills
Clean up spills immediately. Use a circular motion to wipe up spills, moving from outside in. Wear full protective clothing
Know the risk
Medicines that kill cancer cells can affect normal cells, too. Some of the side effects from exposure include birth defects and cancer.
March 20, 2017
Roussel, C., Chemotherapy: Current and Emerging Issues in Safe Handling of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs, Oncology Pharmacy (2014)7;(4), Safe Handling of Oral Chemotherapeutic Agents in Clinical Practice: Recommendations From an International Pharmacy Panel. Goodin, S. Journal of Oncology Practice. 2011, is. 79, ed. 1, s7-12.,
Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP,LoCicero, Richard, MD