Talk To Your Team About Supplements
Certain herbal, vitamin and mineral supplements may interact with your cancer medications, and your cancer care team should advise you about which ones, if any, are safe to take. It is recommended to obtain nutrients through food itself rather than herbal supplements unless a deficiency is present and a supplement is recommended by your physician or dietitian. DeBoer advises.Most side effects and eating problems will go away after treatment ends. Keep in mind that side effects vary from person to person, so do what works best for you to consume the nutrients and calories you need during this time. That may mean pizza for breakfast and ice cream for every snack. Its a personal thing and only temporary. For help creating a balanced eating plan, be sure to talk to your cancer care team and a registered dietitian.
Memory And Concentration Problems
Some people have problems with their short-term memory, concentration and attention span during chemotherapy. You may find that routines tasks take much longer than usual.
It’s unclear why this happens, but the symptoms usually improve once treatment is finished.
Things such as using lists, post-it notes, calendars and your mobile phone for reminders can help. Doing some mental exercises, eating well, and getting enough rest may also be useful.
Decrease In Blood Cell Counts:
Why it happens: Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body, white blood cells help fight infection, and platelets help stop bleeding. These normal, healthy cells divide rapidly, just like the cancer cells, which is why chemo often affects these benign cells in addition to the cancer cells.
How to handle anemia :
- Get at least eight hours of sleep each night
- Take short naps during the day
- Limit your activities by setting priorities of what you need to get completed for the day
- Accept help when your family and friends offer
- Eat a well-balanced diet that contains all the calories and protein your body needs to keep your weight up and repair tissues that have been harmed by the chemo
How to handle infections :
- Wash your hands with soap and water
- Carry hand sanitizer
- Use sanitizing wipes to clean surfaces and items that you touch
- Be gentle and thorough when you wipe after a bowel movement
- Take good care of your skin and clean cuts right away
- Stay away from people who are sick or crowds
- Wash raw vegetables and fruits before eating them
- Do not eat raw or undercooked fish, seafood, meat, chicken, or eggs
- If you are a pet owner, have someone else clean up animal waste
- Do not get a flu shot or other vaccine without first checking with your cancer doctor or nurse.
How to handle a low platelet count:
Your doctor or nurse will order blood tests to find out your blood counts throughout your chemo treatment.
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Tracking Your Side Effects Is Helpful
If you have side effects from chemotherapy that are bothersomesuch as nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, rash, swelling, or unusual pain around the injection siteyour healthcare team should be aware of them as soon as possible.
They will want to know how often you’re having problems, how severe they are, and how you’re coping with them.
It can be helpful to write down any symptoms you experience right after a treatment. Have a dedicated note in your smartphone or a notebook you can keep on hand for this purpose.
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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How Should I Plan For Chemotherapy Treatments
There are steps you can take before treatment begins to help you cope.
Prepare for side effects. Your team will work with you to plan for side effects common to your specific treatment. These may include nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and other side effects. This can include recommendations about eating well and getting regular exercise.
Relieving physical and emotional side effects is an important part of your overall cancer treatment. This type of care is called palliative care or supportive care. Talk with your health care team about the side effects you experience and ways to manage and treat them. Learn more about the side effects of chemotherapy.
Make a caregiving plan. People receiving chemotherapy may need extra help during treatment with transportation, household chores, and other tasks. Family and friends can provide valuable support during this time, called caregiving. Ask your team what type of caregiving at home you may need during and after treatment.
Get help with finances. Cancer treatment can be costly. Before chemotherapy starts, talk with your team about the financial considerations of your treatment, including specific insurance coverage. You may want to contact organizations that can provide financial support. This could be important if your health insurance does not cover the whole cost of treatment.
What Should I Eat During Chemotherapy
Read Time: 2 minutes
Joan Elizondo, RD, CSO
Joan Elizondo, RD, CSO, is a registered dietitian at Huntsman Cancer Institute. She is passionate about helping patients reach their nutrition goals through their cancer journey. Here, she provides answers to some frequently asked questions patients getting chemotherapy have about their diets.
Chemotherapy treatment is a roller coaster. One week, you feel horrible and the next week you feel great. Your body goes through a lot of stress during treatment and food gives your body the nutrients it needs to stay strong.
Think of food as a delicious form of medicine. Your appetite will improve, and side effects will decrease after treatment is complete. Every day will get a little better. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Try to eat a healthy diet during chemotherapy. Your body uses a lot of energy, so it is important that you eat enough calories. Chemotherapy affects each person differently, but here is a good rule to follow. Your normal plate should be about 75% fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The other 25% should be lean meats or plant-based proteins. Still, you do not have to eat a perfectly balanced diet every day. Get as close to your calorie and protein goals as you can. Eat what foods sound good and what you tolerate best.
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Sex And Fertility Issues
Many people find that they lose interest in sex during chemotherapy. This is usually temporary, and your sex drive should gradually return after your treatment has finished.
Some chemotherapy medicines can also reduce fertility in men and women. This is often temporary, but it can be permanent in some cases.
Before starting treatment, ask your care team whether your fertility may be affected. If you’re at risk of infertility, they will discuss your options with you.
You should avoid becoming pregnant or fathering a child during your treatment, as chemotherapy medicines could harm the baby. Use a barrier method of contraception, such as a condom.
Things To Know Before Your First Chemo Treatment
It’s only natural that you would have questions and maybe even worries prior to your first chemotherapy treatment. Your care team will discuss your chemotherapy plan in advance, which can help ease your anxiety. Still, there’s a lot to learn and absorb.
Here are eight things to know so you feel more confident and prepared going into your first chemo session.
Simon Jarratt / Corbis/VCG / Getty Images
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Practical Hints Regarding Neuropathy
- Tight shoes and socks can worsen pain and tingling, and may lead to sores that won’t heal. Wear soft, loose cotton socks and padded shoes.
- If you have burning pain, cool your feet or hands in cold, but not icy, water for 15 minutes twice a day.
- Massage your hands and feet, or have someone massage them for you, to improve circulation, stimulate nerves and temporarily relieve pain.
Chemo And Your Taste Buds
When you’re going through chemotherapyand even for a while afteryour favorite comfort foods may not taste the same. Your beloved chocolate may take on a metallic aftertaste, or the childhood staple of mac ‘n cheese can start to taste like wallpaper paste.
These are unfortunate side effects of some chemotherapy drugs. They can affect your taste buds in the oddest of ways. On the flip side, you might develop a taste for foods that you never used to enjoy.
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Practical Hints For Fatigue
- Plan your activities, such as grocery shopping, for a time when you feel the best.
- If you have children, rest when they are napping. When you feel most tired, consider hiring a babysitter for a few hours so that you can relax or take a nap.
- Take naps early in the day so you do not disturb your sleep pattern at night.
- Consider exercising every day or several times a week. Good forms of exercise include swimming, walking and yoga. Contact the Patient and Family Cancer Support Center for information on free exercise classes.
Does Caffeine Affect Chemotherapy
My top 10 tips on what to avoid while having conventional chemotherapy treatment for cancer are: Avoid caffeine as it acts as a diuretic and draws water out of your cells, causing you to urinate more fluid than you are consuming. Stay away from strong smelling foods to avoid aggravating any disorders of taste.
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Cancer Diet: Foods To Add And Avoid During Cancer Treatment
Cancer can affect every aspect of your health, including your appetite and diet. Selvi Rajagopal, M.D., a specialist in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine, explains why your diet is so important during cancer treatment, and provides tips on foods to add and avoid.
What To Eat During Chemotherapy
Once treatment starts, a persons body will need healthy foods to function at its best. It is essential to get enough calories and proteins during this time.
Foods that a person does not typically enjoy may taste better during treatment, so people are encouraged to try new foods.
A person should eat foods containing health-promoting properties, brightly colored fruits and vegetables, and high protein foods. They should limit sugary and highly processed food.
Protein-rich snacks such as Greek yogurt, nuts and seeds, chicken salad and crackers, or hard-boiled eggs may help maintain strength and energy.
The side effects a person experiences during chemotherapy may affect their eating. For example, a person with a sore mouth may find it uncomfortable to eat acidic fruits, or a person who experiences diarrhea may wish to avoid very high fiber foods.
Following chemotherapy, it is important to:
- Check with the cancer care team to find out about food restrictions.
- Ask a dietitian to help create a balanced, nutritious eating plan.
- Eat a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits daily, such as dark green and yellow vegetables, and citrus fruits.
- Eat high fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
- Limit intake of highly refined carbohydrates and added sugar.
- Incorporate protein-rich foods at every meal and snack.
- Avoid or limit alcohol.
Chemotherapy can cause a number of eating problems as common side effects of the treatment. These may include:
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Fight Through The Fatigue
Cancer treatment can result in loss of appetite and make it more difficult to consume the calories you need, making eating at all a priority. So plan your meal, before anything else, when you have energy to eat. If youre struggling to find the motivation to eat, it can help to break old rules and try new strategies. That can mean eating your favorite foods any time of the day like breakfast for dinner or dessert for breakfast or making meal time enjoyable by playing your favorite music or inviting someone you love for dinner conversation.Drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration can fight fatigue. Short walks, yoga and other moderate physical activity can also help and if you need to rest, take a few short naps, instead of one long one. Stress feeds into fatigue, so practice stress-relieving habits as much as possible.
What To Eat Before During And After Chemo
by Yashoda Hospitals | Aug 27, 2016 | Dietetics
Eating well before, during and after chemotherapy puts you on the early recovery pathChemotherapy is a combination of drugs to treat cancer. Chemo helps to stop or slow the growth of cancer. It may be suggested before, during and after surgery. Chemo drugs attack the cancerous cells and may cause some side-effects in a few people. As per your doctor and nutritionists advice, each cancer patient can follow a custom diet plan during chemotherapy. Anyways, the focus of the diet during chemotherapy is definitely on boosting your stamina so that you feel at your best.
DIET BEFORE CHEMOTHERAPY
Even before the start of chemotherapy you can prefer diet that will help you to boost your health and stamina. In this direction, lean meats like turkey, chicken and fish will be of great help. It is always better to avoid processed meats like ham, hot dogs and sausages. Whole grains, especially oats and brown rice serve as light meals. You can have fruits and vegetables of choice. Cauliflower, chard and spinach, apple or berries can be your preferred choice. Avocado, nuts and fatty fish provide for the much needed supply of fats to the body. Taking adequate water before chemotherapy helps the body to function normally and prevents constipation.
DIET DURING CHEMOTHERAPY
DIET AFTER CHEMOTHERAPY
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How Can Your Diet Help Manage Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Some dietary changes can help you manage side effects after your treatment begins. These side effects include:
- Appetite loss. Eat small meals or nutritious snacks throughout the day, rather than three large meals.
- Constipation. Drink plenty of water, consider a fiber supplement, and add veggies and beans to your meals.
- Diarrhea. Choose foods or drinks with sodium and potassium .
- Loss of taste. Knowing what to eat when you cant taste can be difficult. Consider trying new foods with different spices or marinades. You can also add strong flavors, such as lemon or lime juice.
- Nausea. Anti-nausea foods include citrus, ginger and peppermint oil. You can suck on a slice of lemon, drink ginger tea or eat ginger chews.
Should You Take Supplements During Cancer Treatment
If youre not eating as much as usual during treatment, or if you have side effects like vomiting and diarrhea that cause you to lose vitamins and nutrients, you might consider taking a multivitamin.
Vitamin D tends to be the most common vitamin deficiency, says Rajagopal. Vitamin D helps keep your immune system strong, reduces fatigue and supports bone health. Especially if youre on steroids, youll be at risk for bone density loss.
Talk to a registered dietitian and your oncologist before adding any vitamins or supplements to your diet.
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What Do You Say On The First Day Of Chemo
What to Say to a Cancer Patient
- “We’ll get through this together. …
- “I am praying for you.”
- “Go to MD Anderson. …
- “I am here for you.” Then follow through and really be there.
- Don’t ask what you can do to help or say, “Let me know if you need anything.” Many people will never ask for help even though they need it.
There Will Be First Chemo Treatment Side Effects
You may feel side effects of your first chemo treatment in the hours after your session. Most are temporary, but plan on resting so your body can begin the recovery process.
Chemo treatment side effectssome of which you may experience after your first treatment, others not until several sessionscan include:
- Fatigue: You may feel tired or very fatigued the day after your first treatment. This differs from tiredness that can be cured with sleep. It may feel like profound lack of energy you can’t seem to shake.
- Nausea and vomiting: It is normal to experience nausea and vomiting after chemo.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms: You may be constipated or have diarrhea after chemo.
- Sore mouth: Sometimes chemo can make your mouth feel dry and sore.
- Flu-like symptoms: You may have aches and pains a few days after your first treatment that feel similar to flu symptoms.
- Insomnia: It’s common to have trouble falling asleep or to wake often at night when you’re on chemo.
- Hair loss: Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy, but you won’t experience it immediately after your first treatment. It usually begins 2 to 4 weeks later.
- Memory problems or problems concentrating: Chemotherapy can cause cognitive problems like short-term memory loss or trouble concentrating.
If you feel mentally foggy from the medications you’ve taken, let your healthcare provider know.
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