Keeping Well After Treatment
Its important to take guidance from your medical team. However, the general advice is to follow a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating well, doing exercise thats suitable for you, keeping a healthy weight, limiting your alcohol intake and not smoking. You can find more information about these and other healthy lifestyle factors on the NHS website.
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Nausea Vomiting And Taste Changes
You may experience nausea and vomiting after your last chemotherapy treatment. It should go away in 2 to 3 weeks.
Your appetite may continue to be affected due to taste changes you may have experienced during your treatment. Your taste should go back to normal 1 to 2 months after chemotherapy. In the meantime, there are things you can do to help with these changes. Talk with your nurse if youd like more information.
Although She Expected To Feel Sick After Her Chemotherapy The Anti
For many the medication meant they felt nausea without being sick, but others vomited. One man said that the hospital environment and the smell of the sterile wipes worsened his nausea and he recovered better at home. A woman said she vomited because she miscalculated when to take her first anti-sickness pill. A woman who had tried acupuncture believed it reduced the amount of anti-emetic she needed.
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Practical Hints For Constipation
- To help prevent constipation, drink eight to 10 glasses of fluid a day.
- Take a stool softener such as ducosate sodium, also known as Colace, one tablet once or twice a day. Senekot or Senekot-S also may be suggested. Ask your doctor or nurse for a recommendation.
- Stay as active as you can. Consistent regular exercise can reduce constipation.
- If you can tolerate them, try high-fiber foods such as prunes, bran, fruits and vegetables.
Kidney And Bladder Effects
Certain chemotherapy medications, such as cisplatin, can cause damage to the kidneys and bladder. This can result in a decreased ability of your kidneys to filter your blood. Damage to the bladder can also occur and may be temporary or permanent. Symptoms of bladder irritation may include pain or urgency with urination, or blood in your urine.
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Was Terrified By An Allergic Reaction To Her First Dose Of Bleomycin So An Antihistamine Was
Chemotherapy damages the bone marrow causing a shortage of blood cells in the body. Shortage of white blood cells called neutrophils increases the risk of infection, and shortage of red blood cells causes tiredness and headaches. Some people had a treatment postponed to allow the blood cell counts to recover or were given medication or transfusions to boost them, others caught infections . Certain chemotherapy drugs can also damage fertility .
Last reviewed February 2016.
How Long Does It Take To Get Over Chemo Side Effects
How long do side effects last? Many side effects go away fairly quickly, but some might take months or even years to go away completely. These are called late effects. Sometimes the side effects can last a lifetime, such as when chemo causes long-term damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, or reproductive organs.
How is chemo eliminated from the body?
In fact, most chemotherapy drugs remain in the body for only a few hours or days. Theyre broken down by the kidneys and liver and excreted in the urine, stool, or sweat.
How do I detox my liver after chemo?
Detoxification during or after chemotherapy should always include the foundational approaches of maintaining high water intake, eating a proper diet rich in fiber and phytonutrients, and appropriate use of exercise.
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What Can You Do To Lower Your Risk Of Long
Until we know more about long-term survivorship issues following chemotherapy for adults, there are a few things you can do:
- Ask your oncologist about any late effects that you may expect from the particular chemotherapy drugs you were given. Are there any screening tests that she would recommend?
- Keep a record of your chemotherapy regimen with you in case you see a healthcare provider who is unfamiliar with your medical history.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Make regular appointments with your dentist and eye doctor.
- Engage in regular physical activity.
- Limit your intake of alcohol.
- Let your healthcare provider know if you experience any new symptoms or worsening of current symptoms you have.
For childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancer survivors, long-term follow-up guidelines have been developed to address not only the long-term side effects discussed but other survivorship issues.
What Can You Do To Recover From Chemotherapy
Chemo leaves people feeling drained of energy, prompting them to ask about how to regain my energy after cancer treatment.
The best thing you can do to regain energy and fight the side effects of chemo is to make healthy life choices. That means getting good rest, eating healthy foods and staying as active as you can safely handle.
Facing life after cancer?
It can help you recover mentally, too, to remember youre not alone. There are a lot of people out there going through the similar experiences.
Seek support groups or other support resources.
Having a place to vent feelings and worries can really help you deal with what can otherwise be a very isolating experience, Erin said. I find such strength and beauty in people supporting each other.
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Practical Hints For Hair Loss
- It is not always necessary to buy a real wig. Synthetic wigs can look as good and are less expensive, easier to care for, lighter in weight and may be more comfortable to wear.
- Before possible hair loss, some people like to cut their hair short. The hair loss won’t be quite so shocking if there is less hair to lose.
- Put a towel over your pillow so that clean up in the morning will be easier while you are shedding your hair.
- Buy a drain catch for your shower. Other people choose to shave their head hair when hair loss begins.
- Refer to our wig information sheet for places to shop near you.
- Refer to the Friend to Friend Gift Shop or the Cancer Resource Center for more information.
- When buying a wig, take a friend for emotional support and maybe even a laugh!
Chemotherapy: What To Expect For Your First Treatment
Weve watched friends and loved ones go through it. Weve seen it referenced in movies and television. Weve walked, run and worn colors to support it. Cancer treatment is something with which we all have some level of experience. But when you get the diagnosis, any sense of familiarity you had seems to float away.
If chemotherapy is part of your treatment plan, its very easy to feel confused, overwhelmed and even scared. However, Robert Swaney, MD, a medical oncologist at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center at North Colorado Medical Center, reassured that you are never alone in your battle. In fact, your team is made up of a wide range of peoplefrom doctors and nurses to patient navigators and social workersall with diverse expertise, knowledge and experience.
Dr. Swaney went on to share some helpful insight to help prepare you for your first treatment.
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Increased Risk Of Leukemia
Very rarely, certain chemo drugs, such as doxorubicin , can cause diseases of the bone marrow, such as myelodysplastic syndromes or even acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of white blood cells. If this happens, it is usually within 10 years after treatment. For most women, the benefits of chemo in helping prevent breast cancer from coming back or in extending life are far likely to exceed the risk of this rare but serious complication.
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It Is Not Clear How Cancer Treatments Cause Fatigue
It is unclear how cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy cause fatigue.
When cancer treatment begins, many patients are already tired from medical tests, surgery, and the emotional stress of coping with the cancer diagnosis. Fatigue may get worse during treatment.
Different cancer treatments have different effects on a patients energy level. The type and schedule of treatments can affect the amount of fatigue caused by cancer treatment. Some patients have more fatigue after cancer treatments than others do.
Fatigue related to surgery
Fatigue is often a side effect of surgery, but patients usually feel better with time. However, fatigue related to surgery can be worse when the surgery is combined with other cancer treatments.
Fatigue caused by chemotherapy
Patients treated with chemotherapy usually feel the most fatigue in the days right after each treatment. Then the fatigue decreases until the next treatment. Some studies have shown that patients have the most severe fatigue about mid-way through all the cycles of chemotherapy. Fatigue decreases after chemotherapy is finished, but patients may not feel back to normal until a month or more after the last treatment.
Fatigue during chemotherapy may be increased by the following:
- Lack of sleep caused by some anticancer drugs.
Fatigue caused by radiation therapy
Fatigue caused by hormone therapy
Fatigue caused by immunotherapy
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About Chemotherapy Side Effects
Any side effects you get will depend on the chemotherapy drugs you are having. Different drugs may cause different side effects. You may get some of the side effects mentioned, but you are very unlikely to get all of them.
Some side effects are mild and easily treated. Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist may prescribe drugs to help control them. It is very important to take the drugs exactly as they tell you. This makes them more likely to work for you.
Other side effects can be harder to manage. These can often be reduced or helped in some way. Your nurse will give you advice about this.
Most side effects stop or slowly go away when chemotherapy finishes. Some side effects can be unpleasant, but the benefits of chemotherapy usually outweigh this.
If you are having a single drug, you may not have as many side effects as someone having a combination of drugs. If you are having high doses of chemotherapy, you may have more side effects.
Steroids are drugs that are often given with chemotherapy treatment. They are usually only given for short periods of time. These also cause side effects. We have more information about steroids.
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What When And Why
Every chemotherapy infusion includes a mix of drugs. Some are cancer-killing drugs, while others are medications that help ease side effects.
If you’re not already clear about the answers to the following questions about all of the drugs you will receive, ask your healthcare provider:
- What is this medication?
- How does it help kill cancer cells?
- What side effects may it have?
- How will I feel after taking the medication?
- How should I cope with it?
- Who do I call if I have problems?
While some infusions take minutes, others take hours. A course may take days or weeks. Ask how you should plan for the treatments that await you.
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How Do You Know If A Tumor Is Shrinking
How do you know if you are inemission? There are tests that look for cancer cells in the blood. If your tumor is smaller or not growing back after surgery, its because of an X-ray or magnetic resonance image. If you have a tumor that doesnt grow back or stay the same size for a month after you finish treatments, its a sign of remission.
Appetite And Taste Changes
During chemotherapy, you may experience taste and appetite changes and a heightened sensitivity to odors. Don’t worry if you don’t have an appetite the first few days or a week following chemotherapy it is not unusual. As you feel better, your appetite will improve.
Reflux when food backs up into your esophagus burping, or a burning sensation may worsen nausea. Please report these symptoms to your physician or nurse so that they can be treated. You may find that you can only tolerate certain foods. We encourage you to eat what appeals to you during this time, and to drink enough fluids: eight to 10 eight-ounce glasses per day, more if you have a fever or diarrhea.
Recommendations for healthy nutrition include a diet low in fat and high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and plant-based proteins. Some people want to begin dietary changes during active therapy others prefer to wait until chemotherapy is completed. Some people prefer small, slow changes, while others benefit from a “major overhaul.” We encourage you to become informed and make healthy dietary and lifestyle changes.
Many people gain weight while on chemotherapy for reasons that are not well understood. Again, if you have concerns about nutrition, please consult our staff dietitian.
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Practical Hints Regarding Fever And Infection
- If you have a fever of 101° Fahrenheit or above, with or without chills, call your doctor or nurse immediately. If you cannot reach your cancer specialist, go to an emergency room.
- Keep a thermometer in your home and know how to take your temperature. Do not eat, drink or smoke for 10 minutes before taking your temperature. Leave the thermometer under your tongue for three minutes. If you are still unsure of how to take your temperature, ask your doctor or nurse.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water to prevent infection.
- Avoid rectal intercourse, tampons, douches, enemas and rectal thermometers.
- Do not eat raw foods such as sushi and sashimi, Caesar salad or milk shakes made with raw eggs, until you complete chemotherapy and your blood counts have returned to adequate levels. Raw foods may carry bacteria that can lead to infection. Make sure to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables.
- Wash hands and cutting boards well after food preparation.
- Always tell your doctor before going to the dentist.
The table below will help you understand your temperature in both Fahrenheit and Centigrade:
Remember, always call your doctor if you have a temperature of 101° Fahrenheit or higher.
Describes How He Relieves His Aching Legs And The Pain In The Arm Where The Chemotherapy Drugs
A few people mentioned constipation or diarrhoea as a problem and tried to achieve a balance between the two by adjusting their diet or taking laxatives. Some had indigestion, others hiccups. A few people’s lungs were damaged, causing breathlessness. In one the eyesight worsened. Some experienced forgetfulness, irritability or depression.
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Chemotherapy Mental Side Effects
Its not always easy to spot, but chemo can cause mental side effects too. Many chemo patients experience whats known as chemo brain. According to the Mayo Clinic, the chemicals being put into your body can cause loss of memory, shortened attention span, and difficulty communicating, along with other symptoms. At times, chemo brain can linger even after treatments have ended.
Depression is another mental side effect of chemotherapy. Cancer, even in the best-case scenario, is a lot for a persons brain to handle! To go along with that, the fatigue and pain from treatments arent going to make anyone feel better about themselves.
Many cancer patients have a weakened immune system. All of these factors often cause a chemo patient to feel isolated and helpless. My oncologist told me that over half of his patients need medication and therapy to help overcome depression during cancer treatments.
About Author: Ken Harris
Ken Harris is the proudest father and a writing coordinator for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare.He has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked as a daily newspaper reporter for four years before leaving the field and eventually finding his way to OSF HealthCare.In his free time, Ken likes reading, fly fishing, hanging out with his dog and generally pestering his lovely, patient wife.
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Fear Of Cancer Coming Back
After treatment, many people might be afraid that their cancer will come back . You may become concerned about new symptoms youre having and wonder if theyre related to breast cancer.
Its important to talk with your healthcare provider about any new symptoms you notice. Many of these issues are normal parts of healing and your body returning to a new normal after breast cancer treatment. Your healthcare team is always available to discuss your concerns or fears with you.
You can call or send messages to your doctor or nurse through MyMSK . It may also be helpful to talk with a social worker, therapist, or chaplain. You can also join a support group. For more information, read MSK Support Services.
Practical Hints For Nausea
- Eat a small, light meal before your chemotherapy appointment. Most people do better if they have something in their stomach.
- Eat what sounds good to you. In general, starches such as rice, bread, potatoes, hot cereals and puddings are well tolerated.
- Try not to skip meals. An empty stomach will worsen all symptoms. If you don’t feel like sitting down to a meal, try nibbling on something that appeals to you.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Herbal teas, water, sports drinks and diluted juices are recommended more than soda.
- Avoid unappealing smells.
- Freeze meals so you don’t have to cook. Ask your family and friends to help with meals, especially following chemotherapy when you are most likely to feel nauseated.
For more practical tips on dealing with nausea, schedule a free appointment with the dietitian by contacting the Patient and Family Cancer Support Center.
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