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Anticancer drugs (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.
Wear PPE during preparation and administration of drugs.
Mix drugs in a safety cabinet. For extra safety, use negative-pressure hypodermic needles to withdraw drugs.
Clearly label drugs and equipment and replace any torn labels.
Hand-carry or transport materials in a leakproof container, such as a zipper-locked bag.
All drug waste should be placed in sealed bags and discarded in properly labeled waste bins.
Clean up spills immediately. Use a circular motion to wipe up spills, moving from outside in. Wear full protective clothing.
Drugs that kill cancer cells can affect normal cells, too. Some of the side effects from exposure include birth defects and cancer.