What is Chemotherapy?
“Chemotherapy” is a treatment that inhibits cancer growth and proliferation. Chemotherapy can control and slow down disease progression; it may also harm normal cells, however, which are mostly recoverable. Although some mild side effects may appear, proper daily care can reduce recovery time and even avoid side effects.
 
Precautions in daily life:
  1. Preventing Infections
    1. Wear a mask when you need to go outside.
    2.  Avoid going to public areas.
    3. Choose adequate ventilation, keep environment clean, and don’t keep any pets and plants in the household.
  2. Pay attention to personal hygiene
    1. Clean your mouth and brush the teeth after each meal. Especially, if have any oral ulcers, please clean mouth, frequently.
    2. Wash your hands with soap, frequently.
    3. Keep the perineum and anal area clean and dry.
  3. Prevent injury to avoid bleeding
    1. Be careful while operating sharp object to avoid stabs, cuts, and collisions.
    2. Keep your nails short and clean.
    3. Brush your teeth, gums, and tongue with an extra-soft toothbrush or swab.
    4. Check your skin for any bruising or small red dots. 
  4. Leisure and Activities
    1. Maintain a regular lifestyle and have enough sleep.
    2. Take regular exercise.
    3. Change your posture slowly to prevent dizziness and falls.
  5. Diet
    1. Chemotherapy may cause poor appetite, nausea and vomiting. Try to take  small amounts of meal frequently and avoid oily, smelly, strong and spicy food.
    2. Try to take a high-calorie (30~35 calorie per kilogram) and high-protein (1.2-1.5 gram per kilogram) diet.
    3. Do not eat raw food. Avoid food that is too hot or too cold.
    4. Nutritional supplements could be used when necessary during chemotherapy. There are many available options of nutritional supplements in the market. Please consult the nutritionist before taking any supplements.
  6. Dealing with emotions
    1. Talking to others can relieve your negative emotions.
    2.  A deep breathing and proper exercise will help you to divert your attention.
    3. Try meditating or praying to achieve peaceful emotion.
  7. Hair loss is a temporary situation, you can wear a hat, headscarf or wig to cover it up. Use a gentle shampoo to prevent irritation of the scalp.
  8. Don’t take any medicines without a doctor’s prescription.
  9. Regularly go for a follow-up in the outpatient clinic according to your doctor’s instructions.
  10. If you have any following symptoms, please contact your doctor, or go to the emergency department or outpatient clinics for further medical attention.
    1. Fever.
    2. Severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
    3. Blood/tarry stool, bloody urine or any abnormal bleeding.
    4. Redness, swelling or pain at the injection site.
 
Reference
  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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