Cancer Doubts .com
  Information for patients researching their options

Learn about cancer and
Talk to your doctor with confidence

  Cancer information  

 
         
 Contents
01 What is cancer?
02 Cancer symptoms and screening (how cancer is detected)
03 Causes of cancer
04 Can cancer be prevented?
05 Cancer Stages
(how long do patients live?)
06 Cancer treatment and therapy (how cancer is treated)
07 Types of doctors who treat cancer
08 Choosing a doctor (or getting a second opinion)
09 Preparing for Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy
10 Cancer support (patient psychology and feelings)
11 Cancer suport - How friends can help
12 Is it important to do my own research? (or do I just follow doctor's orders)
13 Cancer information (research your treatment options)
14 Alternative and complementary treatments for cancer
15 Avoiding dubious treatments
16 How medical research is done (how to read medical research papers)
A About this site
 

Preparing for Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy both can have severe side effects. These are not walk-in-the-park treatments. Radiotherapy can lead to sunburn like symptoms, or even bleeding. Chemotherapy can make skin sensitive and make it difficult for wounds to heal and make it difficult for patients to eat and swallow solid food. It has also been known to give patents a burning sensation inside their bodies, and may cause patients to seek out air-conditioned rooms in summer. Chemotherapy has also been known to give patients memory loss and make them loose their concentration, making them short tempered and unable to carry out asks like cooking and cleaning. Some people also experience numbness in their hands and feet, making them prone to losing their balance on staircases and uneven ground.

In short, undergoing any of these treatments may require patients and their caregivers to significantly modify their lifestyle. Here are some things that may need to be done:

(1) coming up with recipes for foods that are easy to swallow, such as smoothies
(2) replacing regular soap and shampoos with milder soaps and shampoos (e.g. baby soap)
(3) keeping creams for cuts and mouth ulcers handy
(4) preparing an air-conditioned room during summer for patient comfort
(5) making arrangement for someone to drive the patient to and from the doctors office during treatment days
(6) making arrangements for food to be prepared or delivered during treatment days. Treatments can take many hours and not give enough time for regular meal preparation

 

Chemotherapy also lowers a person's immunity because it destroys the cells that make up the immune system. This typically happens in a cyclical fashion, and the timing of the cycle depends on the medication being taken. This means that during certain days of the 2 or 3 week chemotherapy cycle, the patient will have low immunity. This means that the patient should avoid crowds or other places where bacteria and viruses may be caught during those times. Patients should also avoid eating uncooked food and contact with soil, as both may have high levels of bacteria.

This lowered immunity also means that caregivers need to monitor the patient for any signs of fever. Fever usually happens when the body has detected an infection and has begun to fight it. Because of the body's lowered immunity, such infections can become fatal without medical treatment (usually antibiotics). If a fever develops, caregivers may need to bring patients to a hospital immediately (your oncologist will advise you beforehand what to do).

 

Book recommendation: I highly recommend the book "Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy Survival Guide" for anyone who has to undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy. It explains the effects on patients from a nursing perspective. I found it extremely useful to know beforehand what the treatment entailed. Nothing beats being prepared - it is a exhausting and potentially painful treatment, and being prepared helps a lot. The link to the book is on the right hand side bar of this page.

 

 


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Medical information for cancer I am not a medical professional; please consult your doctor for a medical opinion. This is my attempt to explain cancer to anyone who is affected by it. If this site helps just one person, then it will have served its purpose.

 

 
 Cancer Links
Prominent research and treatment centers
Stanford Cancer Center
Memorial Sloan Kettering
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Kimmel Center at Johns Hopkins
Dana-Farber/Harvard
Mayo Clinic
 
Information on Drugs
Drugs at FDA
NCI Drug Info
 
Complementary and Alternative Medicine Information
Sloan Kettering
(Integrative Medicine Service)
Medline Plus
American Cancer Society
PDR (Herbals and Supplements)
 
Complementary Medicine and Supplement Suppliers
Cuesta Agaricus Mushrooms
Agaricus Farm Mushrooms
Mitobi Mushrooms
Freshes Mushrooms [Bulk]
AllStarHealth [Maitake D-Fraction]
Maitake Products [D-Fraction]
LifeStream [BRM 360 capsules]
Himalaya Herbals [Ashwagandha]
Vita Green [Yun Zhi extract]
 
Clinical Trials
Clinical Trials (NIH)
 
Research Papers
National Center for Biotechnology Information
Google Scholar
 
New Drug Approvals / Drugs in the pipeline
FDA approvals
 
Helpful Books and Sites
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy survival guide
Cancer Guide.org
The biology of cancer
 
Patient Stories
Andrew Grove
Steve Dunn

 


 

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Site Copyright © 2008 Wei-lung Wang. Top banner images from the Wikimedia Commons, and used under the terms of the GNU General Public License.