Chemotherapy can be a very difficult and challenging part of the battle with cancer. Physical side effects and emotional anxiety really take a toll on patients before, after and during treatment sessions. During this time, they oftentimes need extra care and support. There are many ways in which family and friends can care for, and emotionally support loved ones at home in between treatments. Helping them cope and manage the daily stresses, challenges, physical, and emotional effects of chemotherapy is something cancer patients need most to keep spirits high.
If a friend or loved one is going through chemotherapy and you want to help, it’s important to understand how treatment affects their body. This article discusses some of the physical challenges that treatments impose on the body. Also listed are helpful tips and suggestions for how to best support cancer patients.
Anxiety, depression and fear are very normal responses to cancer diagnoses and chemotherapy. These emotions can stay with the patient long term. The most important thing a loved one or friend can do is listen, and not judge. Relaxation techniques and counseling are good options to help relieve anxiety. Offer to go to a support group or counseling session with the patient to show support and companionship.
Side effects like nausea, fatigue, vomiting, mouth sores and hair loss are a few of many physical effects of chemotherapy. Depending on the type and amount of drug, side effects can range from none to mild to severe. Their affect is unique to each patient. A variety of medications are available to combat side effects, but some can be alleviated with diet and lifestyle modifications.
Diet and lifestyle adjustments are essential to easing side effects. Eating smaller meals throughout the day, and staying hydrated can help with discomfort. Talking short walks may reduce fatigue. Maintaining oral health is important as well. Each patient’s experience with hair loss is different. Support and empathy is helpful if a loved one is dealing with hair loss. Accompanying them to try on wigs and head accessories can make them feel more comfortable.
AT Home Care offers high quality care and assistance within the home to patients as they undergo chemotherapy treatments. We understand the challenges and discomfort that cancer patients go through, and strive to provide the highest level of comfort. Family members, friends and our in-home medical professionals can come together to create a support team for the patient.