“Cancer” is a frightening word. A cancer diagnosis typically causes feelings of stress, anxiety, and fear. The word “chemotherapy” often accompanies a cancer diagnosis and can add to those fears. Sometimes it is the fear of the unknown, other times it is fear about the difficult side effects that are often talked about.
At Suncoast Cancer Institute, we strive to make our patients as comfortable as possible while undergoing chemotherapy treatment. We take extra time to explain the process. We encourage our patients to ask questions in order to ease the fear of the unknown and help them feel better equipped for chemotherapy.
Here are a few tips that many patients find helpful while undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
- Stock up on lotions and lip balms: Chemotherapy treatment tends to dry out the skin and mouth. To keep yourself comfortable, we recommend investing in body lotion and lip balms to keep on-hand throughout your treatment. Since chemo can also cause skin irritation, opt for fragrance free-moisturizer and cream and apply daily for best results.
- Invest in comfortable clothing: On treatment days, you want to be dressed in clothes that are cozy and comforting. Trade in your high heel shoes for fluffy bedroom slippers and pull on your favorite sweatpants and sweater. The infusion rooms may get chilly at times, so blankets and sweaters are a must. The last thing you want to worry about on treatment days is what to wear, so be prepared with comfortable attire.
- Eat and drink up: It is important to stay hydrated during chemotherapy treatment in order to avoid dehydration. At times a patient may experience vomiting or diarrhea as a side effect of the drugs. On the day before treatment, begin drinking clear fluids to help minimize the dehydrating effects. Continue your clear fluid intake the day following treatment to flush the drugs out of your system. Additionally, chemo may affect your appetite, so eat when you are hungry, even if it is does not happen to be a meal time. Your body needs the energy from food to stay strong, so snacking throughout the day is a great way to gain nutrients and fend off nausea.
- Utilize meditation and relaxation techniques: Stress and anxiety are two natural emotions for those undergoing cancer treatment. However, while undergoing treatment, it is important to try to stay calm and relaxed when possible. Stress and anxiety can sometimes enhance physical side effects, so trying to keep calm with deep breathing and relaxation techniques is important. Suncoast Cancer Institute has computer tablets available to patients in the infusion room which not only contain movies and music, but also allow programs to facilitate meditation.
- Get plenty of rest: While fighting cancer, your body needs adequate rest. It is common to feel fatigued while undergoing chemotherapy treatment, so plan to get plenty of rest and sleep in the 48 hours following treatment. Try to keep your sleeping patterns consistent, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. The more you sleep and rest, the quicker you may recover from each treatment.
- Avoid risk of infection: While undergoing chemo, it is important to do everything in your power to remain healthy. Washing hands, avoiding crowds, and wearing a mask when in public are all important ways of avoiding infection. It is a good idea to avoid visiting the dentist during and for a few months following treatment due to the heightened risk of infection. Therefore, plan to visit the dentist prior to beginning chemo.
Chemotherapy Treatment at Suncoast Cancer Institute
If you live in Sarasota and are diagnosed with cancer, you may be interested in Suncoast Cancer Institute for your cancer treatment. SCI staff will go over every aspect of the treatment process and answer any questions you may have. Visit the website or call 941-200-1125.