6 Tips to Help You Through Chemotherapy Treatment
Cancer is a scary word. When a person is diagnosed with cancer, emotions run high with stress, anxiety, and fear leading the pack. Then, when the oncologist mentions chemotherapy treatment, the fear seems to heighten. The word chemotherapy alone tends to frighten patients. Is it the fear of the unknown that is so terrifying? Or perhaps the side effects that are so often talked about, such as hair loss and fatigue?
Regardless of where your fear for chemo stems from, at Suncoast Cancer Institute, we strive to make our patients as comfortable as possible while undergoing chemotherapy treatment. We encourage our patients to ask questions about the process in order to ease the fear of the unknown. In order for our patients to feel better equipped on their chemotherapy journey, below are a few tips that you may find helpful while undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
- Stock up on lotions and lip balms: Chemotherapy treatment tends to dry out the skin and mouth. To keep yourself comfortable, we recommend investing in body lotion and lip balms to keep on hand throughout your treatment. Since chemo can also cause irritation to the skin, opt for fragrance free moisturizer and cream and apply daily for best results.
- Invest in comfortable clothing: On treatment days, you want to be dressed in clothes that are cozy and comforting. Trade in your high heel shoes for fluffy bedroom slippers and pull on your favorite sweatpants and sweater. The infusion rooms may get chilly at times, so blankets and sweaters are a must. The last thing you want to worry about on treatment days is what to wear, so be prepared with a comfortable attire.
- Eat and drink up: It is important to stay hydrated during chemotherapy treatment in order to avoid dehydration. At times a patient may experience vomiting or diarrhea as a side effect of the drugs. On the day before treatment, begin drinking clear fluids to help fight against the dehydrating effects, and continue your clear fluid intake the day following treatment to flush the drugs out of your system. Additionally, chemo may affect your appetite, so eat when you are hungry, even if it is does not happen to be a meal time. Your body needs the energy from food to stay strong, so snacking throughout the day is a great way to gain nutrients and fend off nausea.
- Utilize meditation and relaxation techniques: We understand stress and anxiety are two emotions that you have become accustomed to feeling. However, while undergoing treatment, it is important to try to stay calm and relaxed when possible. Stress and anxiety can sometimes enhance physical side effects, so trying to keep calm with deep breathing and relaxation techniques is important. Suncoast Cancer Institute has tablets available to patients in the infusion room which not only contain movies and music, but also allow for meditation.
- Get plenty of rest: While fighting cancer, your body needs adequate rest. It is common to feel fatigued while undergoing chemotherapy treatment, so plan to get plenty of rest and sleep in the 48 hours following treatment. Try to keep your sleeping patterns consistent, going to bed and waking at the same time each day. The more you sleep and rest, the quicker you may recover from each treatment.
- Avoid risk of infection: While undergoing chemo, it is important to do everything in your power to remain healthy. This means that washing hands, avoiding crowds, and wearing a mask when in public are a must. Additionally, visiting the dentist is to be avoided during and for a few months following treatment due to the heightened risk of infection. Therefore, plan to visit the dentist prior to beginning chemo.
Chemotherapy Treatment at Suncoast Cancer Institute
At Suncoast Cancer Institute, the comfort of our patients is our biggest priority. Prior to treatment, our staff will go over every aspect of the treatment process and answer any questions you may have. Additionally, during treatment if there is ever anything we can do to make you more comfortable, please do not hesitate to ask. Schedule an appointment today to learn more.