Preparing for Chemotherapy Treatment
If you were just informed that you need cancer treatment, there are ways to prepare yourself. Being ready will help you reduce the uncertainty and anxiety that often goes along with beginning treatment.
Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in your body.
Chemotherapy is most often used to treat cancer, since cancer cells grow and multiply much more quickly than most cells in the body.
Though chemotherapy is an effective way to treat many types of cancer, chemotherapy treatment also carries a risk of side effects. Some chemotherapy side effects are mild and treatable, while others can cause serious complications.
Here are four things you can do to prepare for your treatment:
- Plan ahead for side effects: Ask your doctor what side effects to expect during and after chemotherapy and make appropriate arrangements. For instance, if your chemotherapy treatment will cause infertility, you may wish to consider your options for preserving your sperm or eggs for future use. If your chemotherapy will cause hair loss, consider planning for a head covering.
- Make arrangements for help at home and at work: Most chemotherapy treatments are given in an outpatient clinic, which means most people are able to continue working and doing their usual activities during chemotherapy. Your doctor can tell you in general how much the chemotherapy will affect your usual activities, but it's difficult to predict exactly how you'll feel.
- Visit the dentist: Mouth sores are a common side effect, so it's smart to get dental work or cleanings before you start your sessions. You should also ask about good oral care during chemo, like brushing with a soft toothbrush and using an alcohol-free mouth rinse.
- Stock up on healthy foods: Staying hydrated can ease some side effects. So have plenty of low-calorie drinks on hand. You might also want to buy frozen meals or sign up for a meal delivery service for the days you don't feel like cooking. Also, keep a mix of fruits, vegetables and high-protein snacks like yogurt on hand.