For some forms of cancer, such as leukemia or ovarian cancer, chemotherapy is the main form of treatment available. In other cases, such as mesothelioma (a form of lung cancer caused by asbestos) or colon cancer, chemotherapy is an adjuvant therapy, meaning that it is administered after the main treatment. When possible, the main treatment is usually surgery to remove the cancerous growth, followed by chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancerous cells.Find these details
Even when chemotherapy is only being used as an adjacent treatment, it can still have serious side effects. This article will describe the most common symptoms suffered by chemo patients, and give advice on how to counteract them.
One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy is nausea. Doctors can prescribe drugs to help patients cope with this. These drugs will either be anti-nausea, meaning that they help to combat the feeling of queasiness, or antiemetic, meaning that they help prevent vomiting. One of the more common anti-nausea drugs is Compasine. Zofran is a widely-prescribed antiemetic. THC, the active component of marijuana, has also shown to be effective in treating nausea. If you live in an area where medical marijuana is available, this might be a good option to look into. If not, the prescription drug Marinol, which is essentially synthetic THC, may help.There are also remedies besides drugs that can help with nausea. Some people report that tea made with chamomile or caraway seed helped them feel better. Other patients rely on drinks such as ginger ale or sports drinks to calm their stomachs. Mild broths are usually easy to keep down and can be soothing. Alternative medications such as acupuncture or aromatherapy also help some people.
Many chemotherapy patients experience memory problems and a “foggy” feeling. This is commonly known as “chemo-brain,” and it can be a real nuisance. Some patients find that mild physical and mental exercise helps – take walks when you’re up to it, and work on puzzles or riddles to stay sharp. Taking careful notes on everything you need to remember can help you cope with memory issues.
One of the most widely-known side effects of chemotherapy is hair loss. This may seem trivial, but many cancer patients, particularly women, are concerned about their appearance while undergoing treatment. Keeping your spirits up is important to the healing process, and this can be difficult to do when you look (and often get treated) like a sick person. Some patients wear wigs to hide hair loss, while others prefer hats or scarves. The company Chemo Savvy offers a variety of hair products, hats and tips for maintaining a good appearance throughout chemo.