【Major points】

  1. Chemotherapy can be used to destroy cancer cells to control and slow the progression of cancer.
  2. Possible side effects include low blood cells, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, oral mucosal damage, and hair loss.
  3. During chemotherapy, eat a small amount of  meals frequently, and eat high-calorie and high-protein foods.
  4. Pay attention to personal hygiene to avoid infection, move slowly and pay attention to safety to avoid injury and bleeding.


I. What is chemotherapy?

    “Chemotherapy” is a treatment that can destroy cancer cells and to control and slow down disease progression. These drugs not only destroy cancer cells, but also do harm to normal cells. After chemotherapy, Some uncomfortable side effects may occur, which can be reduced and prevented by good daily care.


II. What are the common side effects?

        Since chemotherapy drugs can affect the function of the hematopoietic system, causing low white blood cells, red blood cells, and thrombocytopenia, other common side effects include nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, oral mucosal damage, and hair loss.


III. Principles of care

1.Avoid infection and pay attention to personal hygiene: 
  • A. Wear a mask when going out and avoid going to public or crowded places.
  • B. Keep the home environment ventilated and dry, avoid pets and indoor potted plants.
  • C. Brush your teeth and clean your mouth after each meal, if you have any oral ulcers, please clean mouth frequently.
  • D. Keep the perineum and anal area clean and dry, and if necessary, sitz bath with warm water.
  • E. Wash your hands frequently with soap and bathe everyday.
2.Prevent injury to avoid bleeding
  • A. Be caution when using sharp objects.
  • B. Keep your nails short and avoid scratching yourself.
  • C. Brush your teeth with an extra-soft toothbrush or oral cotton swab.
  • D. Check your skin everyday for any bruising or small red dots.
  • E. If you have fever, severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hematuria, bloody stools, tarry stools, petechiae or any abnormal bleeding after returning home, please contact your healthcare professional or go to the emergency department for medical treatment. After discharge, please follow the doctor's instructions to return to the outpatient department regularly.
3.Leisure and Activities
  • A. Live a regular life and get enough sleep.
  • B. Take regular exercise and change your posture slowly to prevent dizziness and falls.
  • A. Chemotherapy may cause poor appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Try to take small amounts of meal frequently and avoid oily, strong-flavored or spicy food.
  • B. Try to take a high-calorie and high-protein diet, if necessary, go to the "Nutrition Counseling" clinic. (https://www6.vghtpe.gov.tw/reg/sectList.do?type=return).
  • C. Avoid raw food and food that is too hot or too cold.
  • D. Nutritional supplements can be provided if necessary during chemotherapy. There are many options of nutritional supplements in the market, it is recommended to consult a nutritionist before taking any supplements.
5.Dealing with emotions
  • A. You can relax your emotions by talking to others.
  • B. Divert your attention by breathing deeply, proper exercise and listening to music.
  • C. Have religious beliefs may calm the mind. 
6. Hair loss is temporary, once the treatment is completed, the hair will grow back. You can wear a hat, headscarf or wig, and you can use a gentle shampoo to avoid irritating the scalp.



  1. Cai, M. J., Ciou, J. L., Yang, C. L. (2018). Nutritional care for side effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Clinical Medicine. 82(6), P730-733.  https://doi.org/10.6666/ClinMed.201812_82(6).0134
  2. Lalla, R.V., Brennan, M.T., Gordon, S.M., Sonis, S.T., Rosenthal, D.I., Keefe, D.M. (2019). Oral mucositis due to high-dose chemotherapy and/or head and neck radiation therapy. Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs, 2019 (53), 17-24. https://doi.org/10.1093/jncimonographs/lgz011
  3. Liu, C.C., & Chen, S.C. (2019). The effectiveness of music therapy on anxiety in cancer patients during chemotherapy: a systematic review. The Journal of Oncology Nursing, 19(1), P37-48. https://doi.org/10.6880/TJON.201906_19(1).04
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