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Breast Cancer, Metastatic or Recurrent - Home Treatment

Managing side effects

The side effects of breast cancer treatment can be serious. Healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep and exercise may help control your symptoms. Your doctor may also give you medicines to help you with certain side effects, such as medicines to control and prevent nausea and vomiting.

  • Home treatment for fatigue includes tips on how to manage tiredness that doesn't go away with rest or sleep. For example, if taking a shower is a priority, and if mornings are when you have the most energy, take your shower in the morning.
  • Home treatment for nausea or vomiting includes watching for and treating early signs of dehydration, such as having a dry mouth or feeling lightheaded when you stand up. Eating smaller meals may help. So can a little bit of ginger candy or ginger tea.
  • Home treatment for diarrhea includes resting your stomach and being alert for signs of dehydration. Check with your doctor before using any nonprescription medicines for your diarrhea. Be sure to drink enough fluids.
  • Home treatment for constipation includes making sure that you drink enough fluids and eat fruits, vegetables, and fiber in your diet each day. Don't use a laxative without first talking to your doctor.

Other symptoms that can be treated at home include:

  • Sleep problems. If you have trouble sleeping, some tips for managing sleep problems may help.
  • Hair loss may be unavoidable. But you can decrease irritation of your scalp by using mild shampoos and avoiding hair products that damage hair.
  • Stress. Cancer and its treatment can be stressful. But there are many steps you can take to manage stress.
  • Pain. Not all forms of cancer or cancer treatment cause pain. But if you do have pain, there are many home treatments that can help.
  • Swelling of your arm. You can reduce your risk of this swelling by protecting your arm on the side where you had surgery. Let your doctor know right away if you have swelling or redness in that arm. This swelling is called lymphedema (say "limp-fih-DEE-muh").
actionset.gif Lymphedema: Managing Lymphedema
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