Being a Cancer patient is hard and needs a lot of courage to deal with. People take time to comprehend their condition and realize the stakes. Cancer not only affects just one individual but also anyone who is a part of their lives. If you are diagnosed with any form of cancer, a lot might be going through your head regarding your health condition, the kind of cancer that you are diagnosed with, Chemotherapy, your treatment and everything related to it. You may start researching about it on the internet or ask around to which you will get many results, most of which will end up confusing you more than before.
And before you go assuming things, here are 8 things you would need to know about Chemotherapy.
1. You do not need to go and stay at the hospital overnight because other than the hospital, you can get treated at your home, at a clinic, in your doctor’s chamber or even somewhere else. The type of treatment and where you get it depends on a number of things like the type of cancer you have, what stage is it at, the longevity of the treatment, if you have had chemotherapy done previously and if you have any other disease like an issue with the heart or diabetes.
2. Being attached to an IV drip is not the only manner in which Cancer can be treated. The other forms of treatment that your Oncologist may suggest and prescribe to you are:
- A skin cream or a gel that you would need to rub on your skin.
- Single or multiple shots on your hip, belly, leg or arm.
- Liquids, pills, and capsules that you would need to ingest.
- Through a device that is placed under your skin which is called an Infusion port that connects to a vein.
3. If it is your first time getting a Chemotherapy then you should make sure that you stay hydrated and eat light dishes at least three hours before your treatment begins. Choosing to eat high fiber snacks is a good option as they help retain water in the bowel. Since drugs used for chemo are inclined to slow down your digestion and bowel movements, the food that you eat beforehand will stay in you for a longer period of time hence causing severe constipation. It is recommended by doctors that you also stay well hydrated during the whole treatment process. Drinking water and sports drinks or any drink that supply the necessary amount of electrolytes is a good idea.
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4. Before you begin your chemotherapy make sure you visit your Dentist, get a blood test done and are up to date with vaccinations. The reason you should be doing these things is to lower the risks of any additional infections that may form during the process of your treatment and that may be fatal. Visiting the dentist for a checkup may reveal if you have any germs or bacteria in your mouth or not. You should get a blood test done for the sole reason of getting a definite platelet count of all types of blood cells formed by the bone marrow because chemo will have an ill effect on it. Having checked on whether you have all the vaccines or not, including a flu shot is important because in addition to killing the cancer cells chemotherapy also kills cells that are a part of your immune system. This will definitely make your body weaker against any other unwanted disease.
5. Side effects are normal but can vary from person to person. There can be more than one-way chemotherapy can affect you. Some of them being:
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Mood swings
Some people are fortunate enough to get no side effects at all and some project only a few of them. The side effects that you might get are completely dependant on the kind of drugs that are prescribed to you. Your Oncologist might be the best person to let you know about them beforehand but making assumptions before the beginning of the treatment will be hard.
6. Your side effects may also be inactive during your treatment but can show up after several months or years of your chemotherapy. The late-developing side effects that can show up are:
- Nerve Damage
- Lung defects
- Kidney issues
- Heart problems
- A higher chance for cancer to come back.
7. You should keep a trace of all your side effects that have been a bother for a long time. Everything from a rash to nausea is supposed to be noted and told to your Oncologist and the nurse so that they may know the seriousness and duration of the side effect. They will prescribe you with the necessary medication and help you tackle them for relief. Your notes will help you deal with the symptoms if they may ever occur again in the future.
8. Chemotherapy can be an exhausting process that will leave you worn out. It is a good idea to let your body rest as soon as a day’s session is dealt with. Resting your body will give it the chance to rejuvenate and let the chemo drugs run its course and be in effect. The recovery cycle of your body to fight any type of cancer is of utmost importance. A hot bath can also be relaxing to the body as it helps in better blood circulation. Most of the side effects are temporary in nature hence you will feel better once you have recovered from your treatment.
The weight of such uncertainty is something that cannot be shared or expressed but even though cancer will change you in almost every manner but it will never destroy you or what you are known for by your loved ones. This article has certain points to clear out doubts and issues about chemotherapy, which may be of help for anyone who needs guidance.
Tags: Chemotherapy Side Effects, How Is Chemotherapy Done, Is Chemotherapy Painful, Chemotherapy Process