Last Saturday was World Cancer Day and we were once again aware that new cancer cases continue to rise every year. This is largely due to the prevention plans and the reviews and revisions of the population at risk, but also to the increase in bad habits that influence as risk factors in the development of this disease, in the different forms According to data from the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC), 290,175 new cases were diagnosed in 2022.
A diagnosis of cancer, in any of its forms, is a blow to anyone’s life. Every year significant advances are made in treatments, new techniques and drugs appear and survival rates increase. However, a large percentage of cases undergo chemotherapy, cycles of different intensity and duration. And although these treatments have also improved a lot in terms of controlling side effects, we will dedicate today’s blog entry to providing some recommendations, from the professionals of the Ribera group, to patients who will start chemotherapy.
General recommendations for chemotherapy
- accompaniment. Hospitals generally allow you to be accompanied to the treatment. It is important not to be alone and, especially at the beginning, it is important for all the new information to be assimilated better.
- Protocol of the first day. An initial analysis is usually requested, after which, a visit is made with the oncologist and if everything is correct, the Nursing staff proceeds to start the treatment in the day hospital. The patient is usually given an informative guide, with advice and the most common side effects of the treatment, but it is best to ask the professionals when in doubt.
- duration. The duration of the treatment depends on what the oncologist prescribes for each case: Cycles can last from 1 to 6 hours and can be weekly, fortnightly or every three weeks.
- What should we avoid?. It is recommended to avoid the internet because in general the information is very general and nowadays each case is unique and the treatments are customized. You should also avoid alcohol and stimulant drinks and eat large meals.
- Entertainment and comfort. You can bring music, reading, a computer or iPad to the treatment, to pass the time in a more enjoyable way. You can also eat and drink, although it is advisable to avoid spicy foods, and comfortable clothes are advised.
- Secondary effects. Generally, side effects appear 2-3 days after the cycle, although sometimes some patients feel unwell at the time.
- Nausea and vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are usually stopped with medication prescribed by the oncologist.
- diarrhea. Sometimes you suffer an episode of diarrhea, because the intestinal mucosa is altered. In these cases, an astringent diet is recommended, avoiding waste and fiber and eating rice and vegetables.
- Constipation. If, on the other hand, you experience constipation, you need to eat foods rich in fiber and increase physical activity.
- mucositis. Mucositis in the mouth, throat or digestive tract is another common symptom, which can cause anything from mild redness to sores. It is recommended to use soft bristle brushes for dental hygiene and mouthwash. There are specific rinses for these cases.
- Dry mouth. It is another common effect that causes the tongue to feel thickened and sometimes causes fissures at the corners of the lips. Specialists recommend mint or aloe vera infusions before each meal.
- Alteration of taste and smell. White meats are recommended because patients notice more of a metallic flavor in red meats. It also happens with water and that is why wines are recommended. The sense of smell is sharpened and smells that were not noticeable before are now sharper and can be annoying.
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