Although it’s likely you’ll experience some side effects with chemotherapy treatment, there are ways to manage them. Below are helpful tips from the National Cancer Institute for dealing with some of the most common side effects of chemotherapy treatment.
Chemotherapy Side Effects and Their Treatment: Fatigue
Fatigue is one of the most frequent side effects of chemotherapy treatment, ranging from mild tiredness to exhaustion. To manage your fatigue, be sure to get sufficient rest at night and during the daytime. Limit your activities to only those that are critical, and don't be afraid to ask for help from family and friends when you need it. Make it a point to drink plenty of fluids, as dehydration can contribute to fatigue.
Chemotherapy Side Effects and Their Treatment: Hair loss
Hair loss is another common side effect of chemotherapy treatment, and can affect any area of the body. To manage this side effect, consider cutting your hair short or shaving your head, which will make the hair loss less dramatic and easier to control. Use a mild shampoo and avoid using heated styling tools, hair dyes and elastics. If you choose to buy a wig, do so when you still have some hair so you can make an accurate color match - and be sure to ask your insurance company if they offer coverage for wig purchases.
Chemotherapy Side Effects and Their Treatment: Loss of Appetite
Appetite loss is a chemotherapy treatment side effect that can be temporary or last for months. However, you should make an effort to nourish your body even when food is the last thing on your mind. To manage this side effect of chemotherapy treatment, eat six small meals a day instead of three large ones. If you're not up to eating solid foods, try drinking calorie-dense liquids like creamy soup, fruit smoothies with yogurt, or milkshakes. Light physical activity - such as taking a brisk walk - can also help stimulate your appetite. If your low appetite is causing drastic weight loss, talk to your doctor about taking extra vitamins or nutrition supplements.
Chemotherapy Side Effects and Their Treatment: Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are chemotherapy treatment side effects that can occur alone or in combination. To manage these symptoms, stick to bland, highly digestible foods such as toast, rice, chicken, and broth-based soups. Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of three large meals each day. Wait at least one hour after chemotherapy treatment before eating to minimize digestive side effects. If your nausea and vomiting persist, ask your doctor about anti-nausea (antiemetic) drugs.
If you are now battling side effects from chemotherapy treatment and you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, talk to a mesothelioma attorney to find out if you are entitled to compensation.