WebMD senior writer Miranda Hitti interviewed breast cancer survivors as part of a series for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The series, called “Me & the Girls,” explores the personal stories of these women after they were diagnosed with breast cancer.
Breast cancer survivor Ilene Smith, MS, RD, 49, lives in the New York area. In late October 2007, Smith felt a lump in her left breast while on a conference call for work. "I got cold, and so I put my hand under my arm, and I felt the...
In some cases, she may be able to change your prescriptions or adjust the dose. For example, with chemotherapy, "we try to get a dose that works against the tumor but that the patient can still tolerate," says Julie Gralow, MD, of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
These are common side effects of chemotherapy and tips to help you manage them.
Nausea and Vomiting
Chemotherapy may give you these stomach issues.
Tips: Your doctor may prescribe an anti-nausea drug. There are some that you take before chemo to minimize these symptoms, and others that you take during or after chemo. Work with your doctor on this -- let them know how you’re doing so they can help you manage it.
You can also make some changes in your diet to soothe your stomach, including these:
Eat several small meals a day instead of three large ones.
Ease nausea with natural ginger found in sodas, teas, and candies.
Stay away from greasy, fried, salty, sweet, or spicy foods.
Avoid food with strong smells. And stay out of the kitchen while others are cooking.
Stay hydrated. Sip clear liquids like broth, juice, and sport drinks throughout the day.
Wait at least an hour after treatment to eat and drink.
Your doctor may also suggest that you consider acupuncture to help with the nausea and vomiting. There haven’t been a lot of studies on it, but some research shows that it might help, in addition to other treatments.
Many people feel very tired during their cancer treatment, even after getting sleep. Your treatments go on for a long time without a break, and a deep fatigue can build up.
Tip: Get moving.
"Research shows that women who get regular exercise during cancer treatment feel better and have more energy," says Virginia Borges, MD, of the University of Colorado-Denver School of Medicine.