Last Saturday was World Cancer Day and we were once again aware that new cancer cases continue to increase every year. This is due, in large part, to the prevention plans and the check-ups and revisions of the population at risk, but also to the increase in bad habits that influence the development of this disease, in its different forms, as risk factors. According to data from the Spanish Association against Cancer (AECC), in 2022 290,175 new cases were diagnosed.
A diagnosis of cancer, in any of its forms, is a blow to the life of any person. Every year there are important advances 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 are going to dedicate today’s blog entry to providing some recommendations, hand in hand with the professionals of the Ribera group, for patients who are going to start a chemotherapy.
General recommendations for chemotherapy
- Accompaniment. Hospitals generally allow accompanied treatment. It is important not to be alone and, especially at the beginning, it is important so that all the new information is better assimilated.
- First day protocol. 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. An informative guide is usually given to the patient, with advice and the most common side effects of the treatment, but it is best to ask the professionals when we have doubts.
- Duration. The duration of the treatment depends on what is prescribed by the oncologist for each case: The cycles can last from 1 to 6 hours and can be weekly, biweekly or every three weeks.
- What we should avoid. It is recommended to avoid the internet because in general the information is very general and today each case is unique and treatments are prescribed in a personalized way. Alcohol and stimulating drinks should also be avoided and copious meals should be eaten.
- entertainment and comfort. You can bring music, a reading, 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 clothing is advised.
- Side effects. Generally, side effects appear 2-3 days after the cycle, although sometimes a patient feels unwell at the time.
- nausea and vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are usually stopped with medication prescribed by the oncologist.
- Diarrhea. Sometimes an episode of diarrhea is suffered, 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 should 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 sensation of thickening of the tongue and sometimes causes fissures in the corners of the lips. Specialists recommend infusions of mint or aloe vera, before each meal.
- Altered taste and smell. White meats are recommended because in red meats patients notice more metallic taste. It also happens with water and that is why broths are recommended. The sense of smell is sharpened and odors that were not noticeable before are now sharpened and can bother.
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