Skip to content

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Nausea and Vomiting (PDQ®): Supportive care - Patient Information [NCI] - General Information

Nausea and vomiting are serious side effects of cancer therapy.

Nausea is an unpleasant wavelike feeling in the back of the throat and/or stomach that may lead to vomiting. Vomiting is throwing up the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Retching is the movement of the stomach and esophagus without vomiting and is also called dry heaves. Although treatments have improved, nausea and vomiting are still serious side effects of cancer therapy. Some patients are bothered more by nausea than by vomiting.

Recommended Related to Cancer

Overview

Milk thistle is a plant whose fruit and seeds are used to make remedies for liver and bile duct ailments (see Question 1). The active ingredient found in milk thistle is silymarin, an antioxidant that, among other things, protects against cell damage and stimulates repair of liver tissue (see Question 1 and Question 5). Milk thistle has been studied in laboratory cell lines and animal tumors for its potential to make chemotherapy less toxic and more effective, and to slow the growth...

Read the Overview article > >

Nausea and vomiting must be controlled to maintain the patient's treatment and quality of life.

It is very important to prevent and control nausea and vomiting in patients with cancer, so that they can continue treatment and perform activities of daily life. Uncontrolled nausea and vomiting can cause the following:

  • Chemical changes in the body.
  • Mental changes.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Dehydration.
  • A torn esophagus.
  • Broken bones.
  • Reopening of surgical wounds.

There are four types of nausea and vomiting that are caused by cancer therapy:

  • Anticipatory.
  • Acute.
  • Delayed.
  • Chronic.

Anticipatory nausea and vomiting: If a patient has had nausea and vomiting after the previous three or four chemotherapy treatments, he or she may have anticipatory nausea and vomiting. The smells, sights, and sounds of the treatment room may remind the patient of previous times and may trigger nausea and vomiting before a new cycle of chemotherapy has even begun.

Acute nausea and vomiting: Usually happen within 24 hours after beginning chemotherapy

Delayed nausea and vomiting: Happen more than 24 hours after chemotherapy. Also called late nausea and vomiting.

Chronic nausea and vomiting: In patients with advanced cancer, chronic nausea and vomiting may be caused by the following:

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: 8/, 015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Colorectal cancer cells
    New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
    Lung cancer xray
    See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
     
    sauteed cherry tomatoes
    Fight cancer one plate at a time.
    Ovarian cancer illustration
    Real Cancer Perspectives
     
    Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
    Blog
    what is your cancer risk
    HEALTH CHECK
     
    colorectal cancer treatment advances
    Video
    breast cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    prostate cancer overview
    SLIDESHOW
    lung cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    ovarian cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Actor Michael Douglas
    Article