Until your treatment actually starts, you will not know exactly what, if any, side effects you may have or how you will feel. One way to prepare is to think of your treatment as a time for you to concentrate on yourself and on getting well.
A healthy diet is vital for every person's body to work its best. This is even more important for cancer patients.
You'll go into treatment with reserves to help keep up your strength, prevent body tissue from breaking down, rebuild tissue, and maintain your defenses against infection.
People who eat well are better able to cope with side effects. You may even be able to handle higher doses of certain treatments. For example, we know that some cancer treatments are actually much more effective if the patient is well-nourished and getting enough calories and protein in his or her diet.
Don't be afraid to try new foods. Some things you may never have liked before may taste good to you during treatment.
Oncologist : doctor who prescribes and monitors the course of your chemotherapy.
Adjuvant therapy : chemotherapy treatment that follows surgery or radiation therapy to prevent cancer reoccurrence.
Antiemetic : medicine that controls nausea
Systemic therapy : describes how chemotherapy works. The drugs affect the whole body by flowing through the bloodstream. The purpose is to destroy cancer cells that may have spread from the original site.
Metastasis : describes the condition where cancer cells have spread beyond the original site, such as from breast to liver. This occurrence may call for more strenuous drugs, larger doses and more rounds.
Lymph node : rounded masses of lymphatic tissue through which cancer spreads throughout the body. A telling sign of metastasis is when one or more of the lymph nodes have enlarged.
Chemotherapy can treat most cancers effectively. But there’s no way to predict its effect on your tumor until you go through it. Medical tests will determine if chemotherapy is working. Possible results are:
Absolute remission or response. Patient is monitored for reoccurrence.
Partial remission or response. This means your tumor shrank but did not disappear. You doctors will most likely recommend more chemotherapy, possibly with different drugs.
Stabilization. There’s been no increase or decrease in the size of your tumor. Other therapy possibilities will be offered.
Progression. You tumor continues to grow. More aggressive therapy might be recommended.
Secondary malignancy. This means cancer has spread to another area, which may require additional surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation
This treatment uses radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors at a specific site. It is considered the least invasive of cancer treatment options. This is often the last step in your regiment, if it’s needed at all. If and when you should have radiotherapy depends on a myriad of factors. For example, in treating breast cancer, you and your doctors may have opted for a lumpectomy (removing the cancerous lump only) instead of a full mastectomy. Because the remaining breast tissue might have cancer cells, the treatment of radiotherapy would allow doctors to target that specific area of concern.
Radiotherapy does not usually cause nausea or to greatly weaken the immune system. But in cases where radiation is applied to the entire body, thereby soaking into the bone marrow, the counts of your white blood cell counts will decrease. You should be on high alert to prevent getting sick. Follow the same clean habits as during chemotherapy.
You can ask your radiation oncologist if you experience irritation on the treated area so he/she can prescribe a relief or you can apply clear plain aloe vera gel after every treatment to help regenerate damaged skin but not before.
All the methods of treating cancer - surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biological therapy (immunotherapy) - are very powerful. Although these treatments target the fast-growing cancer cells in your body, healthy cells can also be damaged. Healthy cells that normally grow and divide rapidly, such as those in the mouth, digestive tract, and hair, are often affected by cancer treatments. The damage to healthy cells is what produces the unpleasant side effects that cause eating problems.
The good news is there are many things a patient can do about them and that not everyone has side effects during treatment, and most side effects go away when treatment ends. Side effects can also be well-controlled with new drugs. Talk to your doctor about possible side effects from your treatment and what can be done about them.
Some eating problems are caused by the treatment itself. Other times, because they are upset, worried, or afraid. Losing your appetite and nausea are two normal responses to feeling nervous or fearful. Once you get into your treatment period and have a better sense of what to expect and how you will react, these anxiety-related eating problems should get better.
While you are in the hospital or undergoing treatment, talk to your doctor, nurse, or a registered dietitian. They can answer your questions and give you suggestions for specific meals, snacks, and foods, and for dealing with any eating problems you may have. They can also help with dietary preferences that reflect various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Feel free to talk to them if problems arise during your recovery as well. Ask them what has worked for other patients.
Remember, there aren't any hard and fast nutrition rules during cancer treatment. Some patients may continue to enjoy eating and have a normal appetite throughout most of their cancer treatment. Others may have days when they don't feel like eating at all; even the thought of food may make them feel sick.
There is much that you can do to help yourself, a friend or loved one through the period of cancer treatment.
Breast Cancer Chemotherapy Side Effects and their Nutritional/Personal Management
Side effects associated with chemotherapy may vary from person to person. Some patients may experience significant side effects while others may experience very minimal side effects. It is not possible to predict who is going to have more severe side effects.
All the side effects described here will not affect everyone. Most patients will have the common side effects like hair loss, while some other side effects may affect few patients, and may not trouble some others. Here we will show you the most common side effects of chemotherapy.
Breast Cancer Chemotherapy Side Effects and their Nutritional/Personal Management
Chemotherapy Drug - Nutritional/Personal Management
Bone marrow suppression and lowering of blood counts----eat plenty of dark green, leafy vegetables
Hair loss----wear fashionable turbans and wigs
Nausea and vomiting----cold fresh ginger tea with a bit of honey
Six months to a year after diagnosis, you will most likely be finished with treatments. It’s time to celebrate. Go on a trip, start a dream project: a garden, watercolor, kayaking. Your body will recover to its full speed and you will get your life back.
Two months after the last chemotherapy session, fuzz will appear, if you’ve lost hair at all. By now you should able to resume your exercise and work routines. Six months after the last treatment, you will be seeing your oncologist and other doctors only once or twice a year.
A year after treatment, you might be so engrossed into your “normal” life that you forget you had cancer. Well, not completely forget, but half of your day might be without a thought of illness.
Three years after treatment, you might only remember when you happen to look at your scar or breast reconstruction.
Five years after treatment, you might be declared cancer free.
After cancer treatment ends and you're feeling better, you may want to think again about the traditional guidelines for healthy eating. Just as you wanted to go into treatment with all the reserves that such a diet could give you, you'll want to do the best for yourself at this important time. There's no current research that suggests that the foods you eat will prevent your cancer from recurring. But, we do know that eating right will help you regain your strength, rebuild tissue, and help you feel and live well with cancer.