Colorectal Cancer - Home Treatment
You can do things at home to help manage
the side effects of
colorectal cancer or its treatment. Be sure to follow
your doctor's advice on any drugs you are taking. Healthy habits such as eating
a balanced diet and getting enough sleep and exercise may help control your
- Home treatment for nausea or vomiting includes watching for and treating
early signs of
dehydration, such as a dry mouth, sticky saliva,
having smaller than usual amounts of urine, or having urine that is dark
yellow. Your doctor may also prescribe
medicines to help control nausea and vomiting. For
more information on how to deal with these side effects, see:
- Cancer: Controlling Nausea and Vomiting From Chemotherapy.
- Home treatment for diarrhea includes
resting your stomach by not eating for several hours or until you feel better
and watching for signs of dehydration. Check with your doctor before using any
drugs for your diarrhea.
- Home treatment for constipation includes gentle exercise, drinking plenty of fluids, and
eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and foods that contain fiber. Check with
your doctor before using a laxative.
- Home treatment for fatigue includes getting extra rest while you are having
chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Let your symptoms be your guide. You may be
able to stick to your usual routine and just get some extra sleep. Fatigue is
often worse at the end of treatment or just after treatment is completed.
- Home treatment for sleep problems includes going to
bed at the same time every night, exercising during the day, and avoiding
caffeine late in the day.
- Home treatment for pain can range from
hot packs or cold packs to relaxation or aromatherapy and can improve your
physical and mental well-being. Not all forms of cancer and cancer treatment
cause pain. Talk to your doctor before using any home treatment for
- Home treatment for mouth sores can reduce your
- Drink cold liquids, such as water or iced
tea, or eat flavored ice treats or frozen juices.
- Eat foods that
are easy to swallow, such as gelatin, ice cream, or custard.
from a straw.
- Rinse your mouth several times a day with a warm
saltwater rinse. Mix 1 tsp (5 g) of salt with 8 fl oz (0.2 L) of warm
Learning that you have colorectal cancer and being treated for it can be
very stressful. There are steps you can take to reduce your stress. You may want to talk with family or friends. Some people find that spending time alone is what they need.
meeting with a counselor or joining a support group of others who have
colorectal cancer. Your doctor may also be able to help you find other sources
of support and information. Learning relaxation techniques, such as yoga or
visualization exercises, may also help you reduce your stress.
Your feelings about your body may change after treatment.
Dealing with your body image may involve talking
openly about your worries with your partner and discussing your feelings with a
For more information about learning how to live with cancer, read "Taking Time: Support for People With Cancer" from the National Cancer Institute. This booklet is available online at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/takingtime.