What You Need To Know About Chemotherapy and How To Survive It

Chemotherapy is one of the often recommended treatments for cancer. It uses drugs or chemotherapeutic agents that kill cancer cells and prevent them from growing. Many of those drugs can have severe effects, but if the doctors recommend chemotherapy it is most likely necessary, and the benefits will outweigh the unwanted effects. Radiation therapy is often included in the overall treatment plan, and it’s very effective when combined with chemotherapy, but it always depends on many factors, mostly the stage of cancer. An oncologist is the best person to talk to if you want to understand what to expect. However, here is some information about it, that you may find useful or helpful.

everything you need to know about chemotherapy

Cancer Prevention

Before we start learning about chemotherapy, let’s do a quick recap on cancer prevention. This is more important than you realize. You may think that people from cancer prevention groups and organizations are overreacting, but these few tips may save your life. 

If you want a healthy body, try to quit smoking, and reduce the alcohol intake. Eat healthy, whole foods - lots of fruits and veggies, and avoid sugar and processed food, especially processed meat. In addition, if you are female, be sure to check your breasts and reproductive organs at least twice a year. According to professionals from an early detection and increased awareness are the most important things for the ladies. Don’t forget to be physically active and maintain a healthy weight. Dermatologists always recommend wearing sunscreen and avoiding the midday sun, so make sure to listen to that advice. Regular self-exams and visiting your doctor may be crucial. It’s not that difficult to follow these tips, but it’s the most important thing you can do for yourself.

What Is Chemotherapy?

When a person has a healthy body the cells are constantly replaced through a process of dividing, but when cancer occurs cells tend to reproduce uncontrollably. As more cancer cells are produced, they start occupying the space for useful healthy cells. Chemotherapy is meant to stop cancer cells from dividing and reproducing. This can be done by a single drug or a combination, that can attack specific sites or cancer cells throughout the whole body.

There are three ways chemotherapy drugs work. They can:

  • Prevent division of cells
  • Trigger apoptosis (also known as the “suicide” of cancer cells)
  • Target the food source that cancer cells need for their growth (specific enzymes and hormones)

There are many different treatments and approaches when it comes to chemotherapy. It is most likely the oncologist will recommend it to slow the progression of the disease and reduce symptoms, but also when there is a need to shrink a tumor before the surgery, or to remove any cancer cells after the surgery or in remission.

tips for chemotherapy

Tips to Help You Survive It

Being diagnosed with cancer is a very scary and confusing experience. When you add chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery to the plate your fear can become paralyzing. But remember that even though your body and mind are pushed to the edge - you will bounce back! Here are some suggestions to help you deal with chemotherapy and come out of it as a winner.

Eat Bland Foods and Drink a Lot of Water

You may not feel like it, you may even experience nausea, but eating is essential during chemotherapy and it can make a lot of difference. Getting food into your system is very important, so begin with some mushy, bland foods (e.g. pudding, yogurt, mashed potatoes, oatmeal, etc.) until you feel stronger and your appetite returns. Drink a lot of water to help you flush out the toxins. If you don’t like plain water, you can always add some lemons or ginger, or drink fruit juices, freshly squeezed veggie juices, or broth.

Get Your Body Moving

We know that exercising is the last thing on your mind right now, but just walking for 15-20 minutes a day helps. It’s important to get the toxins out and get your blood pumping. If you feel up to it - try some gentle yoga exercises, that will calm your body and mind.

Keep a Positive Attitude

How can you keep your head up during chemotherapy? The answer is that you don’t always have to be positive and it’s normal for you to grieve and feel frustration, anger, and fear. It’s important to express your emotions.

But we all know that it feels better to find the glass half full in every life situation, and a cancer patient needs and deserves as much happiness and good vibes as possible. Try surrounding yourself with positive people and let your family and friends show you how much they care for you. Let them help you, support you, and be your ray of sunshine in the darkest moments.

Susan Harris

By Susan Harris

Susan Harris is the owner of Rooted Mama Health. She is the mother to two amazing children and wife of a loving husband. She strives to provide the world with all the information they need to live a happy and health lifestyle.