What You Should Know Before Your First Chemotherapy Session

Chemotherapy affects everyone differently, so knowing how to prepare might be difficult. When you discover that you require chemotherapy, it is normal to feel frightened or overwhelmed. Learning more about this sort of cancer treatment, on the other hand, may make you feel more prepared and less scared. However, there are a few common considerations to address ahead of time. This information can help you in preparing for your first treatment.

Drink enough water

Chemotherapy medications are extremely drying to the tissues of your body. It’s preferable to consume 3 liters of water every hour following an infusion till bedtime. Caffeine is also dehydrating, so avoid it. You may feel worse overall if you become dehydrated.

Eat light food

Eat light and high-fiber foods two to three hours before an infusion. Chemo medications reduce peristalsis (the movement of your digestive tract), so whatever you eat may be in your digestive tract for longer than usual and will dry out, creating bowel movement problems. The medications widely used to prevent nausea and vomiting can also cause constipation. Even if it is recommended that you use medications to avoid constipation, these will only function if you are sufficiently hydrated.

Be ready for pre-chemo blood tests

A complete blood count will be performed before each round of treatment. Your CBC gives you information on all of the many types of blood cells produced by the bone marrow that can be affected by chemotherapy. To determine if you have anemia, your red blood cell count and hemoglobin levels are examined. Anemia can cause fatigue and lightheadedness. Your white blood cell count will tell your doctor if you have neutropenia, which is a lack of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell. You may be at risk of infection if your neutrophil count is too low. In some chemotherapy regimens, your oncologist may advise you to take Neulasta or Neupogen, both of which are anti-cancer drugs.

Learn about each drug

Every chemotherapy infusion contains a cocktail of medicines. Some are cancer-fighting drugs, while others are anti-side-effect medications. Ask about all of the medications you receive, including:

 

  • What exactly is this medication?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • What will I feel like after taking this drug?
  • How am I going to deal with this?
  • Who should I call if I have any concerns about this?
  • How can this help in the death of cancer cells?

Learn More About Your Post-Chemotherapy Medications

If you’ve been prescribed post-chemo drugs, be sure you understand how and when to take them. There are few side effects of cancer  treatment. The drugs that are used to treat nausea and vomiting differ. Some are to be used on a regular basis to prevent chemotherapy-induced nausea. To be most effective, these drugs must be taken prior to feeling ill. Other nausea drugs are only used when you are already feeling extremely nauseous or vomiting.

Keep Track of Your Side Effects

Inform your healthcare provider if you experience bothersome chemotherapy side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, swelling, or unusual pain around the injection site. Your healthcare physician will want to know how frequently you have problems, how severe they are, and how you’re dealing with them. It’s a good idea to keep track of any symptoms you experience at home after therapy. It is easier to recollect and bring up any issues you may have if you have notes to refer to when you next visit the doctor.

These items will be useful to you throughout your chemotherapy and other treatment-related difficulties. Discuss any new or worsening symptoms with your healthcare professional as soon as possible. Also, keep track of any medicines that help your symptoms (for example, using a prescribed anti-nausea medication, taking time to rest, or drinking extra fluid). This list can come in handy later if you have the same problem after a future treatment.