Cancer treatment is not just about battling cancer, it also involves coping with the side effects of medication and health procedures patients go through as they fight the disease.
Nausea, vomiting, and fatigue are common side effects of cancer treatment. They can interfere with quality of life and a person’s ability to perform daily activities and follow a normal routine. While these may be true, there’s no need to fret about getting treated for cancer, because these side effects can be dealt with.
Here are some of the ways:
There are medications that can help suppress nausea during cancer treatments. When you experience this side effect, let your doctor and care team know right away so that appropriate drugs can be prescribed to you.
When you already have medication for nausea, take it at its early signs so that you can prevent vomiting. Try to relax and take slow and deep breaths as you wait for the drugs to take effect.
One way to fight nausea is to shift your attention away from it. Listening to soft music, watching your favorite shows, or engaging in light conversations and leisurely activities with other people can help shift your focus away from nausea.
Making changes with eating patterns and habits
Making adjustments with the food you eat and how you consume them can help lessen nausea. You can try to divide your food intake into smaller portions but in higher frequency within the day to make eating your meals easier. After meals, it’s also advisable to rest for a while and sit upright to avoid nausea.
Consider eating bland food or consuming dishes in cold or room temperature to lessen its taste. You can also avoid any unpleasant taste by sucking on sweet and hard candy.
When undergoing treatment, patients may find red meat and meat broths too stale. If that’s the case, you can turn to other sources of protein such as white meat and tofu. Meanwhile, you can also consider eating high-calorie food like pudding, ice cream, and milkshakes in order to keep your calorie intake leveled.
Medication can also be prescribed if you experience vomiting during cancer treatment. Dissolving tablets and suppositories are advisable as they can be taken easily.
Intake fluids slowly
You can take small sips of fluids or take them in frozen form such as ice chips or pieces of frozen juice.
After vomiting, take small intakes of fluids every 10 minutes. You can begin with one teaspoon of fluid per interval and just increase the amount as you feel more comfortable.
Keep the mouth clean
After vomiting, clean your mouth to remove any unpleasant odor, after taste, and residue. You can typically do this through gargling. Ask your doctor which type of mouth rinse is best for you.
Rest is essential to thwart fatigue brought about by cancer treatment. However, it’s important to note that too much resting can also drain energy. So manage your resting times within the day and get seven to eight hours of shut-eye each night. If you have a hard time sleeping, inform your care team and doctor.
Save your energy by only focusing on things that matter. Plan your activities in a day and make sure to set aside minutes for breaks. More so, you can keep items that you usually use nearby, so that you can reach them easily without having to exert too much effort.
Keep a record
Track activities each day and take note of how you feel. At what times did you feel better or worse? Are there any activities that caused too much strain on your body? Having this log can help doctors assess your situation and prescribe an action plan according to your needs.
Cancer patients suffering from fatigue can still exercise. Regular to moderate workout routines can help soothe fatigue. However, it’s best to consult your doctor first before doing any exercise during cancer treatment.
Enough fluids and proper nutrition can help your body function well during treatment.
Getting support from your loved ones and cancer care team can help fight fatigue during cancer treatment. Family and friends can help you perform some of your tasks and doctors can prescribe ways to fight this side effect. Aside from that, it’s also essential to get emotional support from others and be able to talk about how you feel.
Alternative Cancer Treatments
Alternative cancer treatments can also be prescribed to help manage nausea, vomiting, and fatigue during cancer treatments. Acupuncture, positive imagery, aromatherapy, hypnotherapy, meditation, and relaxation techniques are some of the complementary methods of dealing with cancer treatment side effects.
Alternative cancer treatments can be helpful in managing pain and discomfort during treatment. Consult with your doctor and see which ones are appropriate for your condition and needs.
Dealing with Side Effects of Cancer Treatment
Side effects during cancer treatment can be dealt with in most cases. However, it becomes alarming if it’s too severe to and cause other health concerns for the patient.
Inform your doctor about any side effects you experience even at the beginning of your treatment. This way, it can be addressed ahead of time and prevent complications later on.
Meanwhile, managing cancer side effects can begin even before the treatment takes place. As you discuss treatment options with your doctor, make sure to ask the right questions so that you’ll know what to expect in terms of side effects.
Here are some essential questions to ask:
- What are possible side effects of this treatment? How can I deal with them?
- Are there side effects that may warrant an emergency call to you or a trip to the hospital?
- Is there a way to prevent side effects?
- Will side effects last?
- How mild or severe can side effects be?
- What are possible health implications of these side effects?
Battling cancer involves a lot of challenges, and one of which is having to deal with side effects during treatment. But just like all things, cancer along with its many hurdles can be overcome. It starts with awareness of your different options and the will to have a good quality of life.