How to Help Minimize Chemo Side Effects

Chemo side effectsChemotherapy saves lives, and is utilized as treatment for as many as 650,000 Americans with cancer each year; but as helpful as this solution may be, it brings with it potential risks and sometimes unpleasant side effects. Hillendale Home Care, top providers of Contra Costa area home care services, outlines the most common chemo side effects, and recommendations to help make them more manageable.

Nausea and/or Vomiting:

It can occur as quickly as within a matter of hours after receiving treatment, or can be delayed until days later, but unfortunately, vomiting and nausea are common chemo side effects, resulting from the body’s normal reaction to a foreign substance. One of the best ways to combat these symptoms is through use of an anti-nausea drug prescribed by the oncologist. It’s vitally important to take the prescribed medication exactly as outlined by the doctor. Some cancer patients discover that eating a small meal right before chemotherapy helps stave off nausea; others feel better when refraining from eating until afterwards. Working closely with the doctor, each individual can identify the best strategy to minimize feelings of nausea and vomiting.

Hair Loss:

Although it may not be as physically debilitating as nausea and vomiting, hair loss is one of the more stressful potential chemo side effects to withstand, impacting a person’s own overall sense of self. Bear in mind that not all cancer treatment options cause hair loss, but if it is encountered, lost hair typically grows back once treatments are completed. For patients who decide to wear a wig, it’s best to choose one before the onset of chemo treatment, in order to obtain the most accurate color match. Insurance sometimes helps cover cost for either a wig or alternate type of head covering.

Fatigue:

Whether it’s a result of the chemo treatment or one of a number of other causes – from the cancer itself, anemia, or the emotional impact of the cancer diagnosis and treatment to be faced – reduced energy levels are extremely prevalent, but thankfully, are also treatable. The person with cancer should talk through any challenges with fatigue with his or her doctor and closely follow his or her recommendations, instead of attempting to self-medicate with OTC meds or other solutions that may not be ideal. Maintaining a balanced diet, getting plenty of rest, and identifying an outlet for emotional release (such as professional counseling, sharing feelings with friends and family, writing in a journal, etc.) can all be helpful as well.

At Hillendale Home Care, our Contra Costa home care services include supporting those with cancer, from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. We can provide safe, reliable transportation services to appointments and procedures, pick up medications and healthy foods, prepare meals, help with housework and laundry, and serve as a compassionate companion to walk beside the cancer patient and provide assistance in whatever way is needed.

Contact us at 925-933-8181 to find out more about our cancer care and other in-home senior care services.