Chemotherapy sometimes referred to as chemo is a treatment technique used to slow down the progression or kill cancer cells using drugs.
Considering the fact that there’s no proven cure for most types of cancers, chemotherapy is often the choice of treatment. Although it is not an easy road, it is the only way to eradicate or slow down the multiplication of cancer cells in your body.
Whether it is you are your loved one who is about to start the chemotherapy journey, there are things you should know. It is important to start the process when you are fully aware of what you are getting into.
Here are seven helpful things every patient should know about chemotherapy treatment:
- Understand what chemotherapy is
Before commencing chemotherapy, it is important to understand what exactly it is. Get as much information as possible. For example, you should know the different types of chemotherapy treatment available. Most people opt for an IV – usually referred to as infusion chemo. However, you can also decide to take pills and visit the hospital probably once or twice a month for an IV.
You should also speak to your doctor & ask any questions that you are not sure about prior to the commencement of the treatment.
- Have a positive mental attitude
There’s nothing as important as a positive attitude when it comes to cancer treatment. As mentioned earlier, chemotherapy is not an easy treatment. You must be prepared for it both mentally & emotionally.
The treatment can sometimes come with adverse side effects on your overall health. That’s why it is important to be positive and optimistic throughout the journey. Staying positive will help you to cope with the diseases and recovery from it.
- It is normal to be anxious
It is normal to feel uneasy when you are preparing for your first chemotherapy session. This is because you don’t know what will happen next. You will go to sleep anxious about the type of side effects that chemo drugs or injection will have on you.
How should you deal with such anxiety? Try to do something that will distract your attention, especially on the first day.
You can bring a book, journal, or anything that will keep your mind distracted. Remember chemo through an IV can take longer.
- Not every chemo drug results in hair loss
When most people think about chemo, all that comes into their minds is hair loss. However, it is important to note that note all chemo drugs lead to hair loss. If you opt for infusion chemo, you will be required to go to the hospital for a few hours.
You’re likely to experience some side effects – depending on the drugs that were administered. Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, chest pains, hair loss, among others.
- Avoid crowded places and sick people
If you must be in a crowded place, then ensure that you put on a mask. After every chemotherapy session, there are higher chances that your white blood cell count will go down. This means that you are at risk of different kinds of infection.
- Engage in light exercise during your chemo
This may sound difficult for many people, but it is important to do some small exercises while on treatment. Lying all day in bed after an injection or drugs can take its toll on your physical health and fitness. Get out of your bed and try climbing mountains or ride a bicycle.
- Everyone’s chemo experience is different
You should note that your chemo journey may not be similar to any other person’s. As such, you should bear in mind that what has worked for someone else might not necessarily work for you.