The benefits of chemotherapy are undeniable, and they can save a person’s life. Yet in the process of destroying harmful cancer cells, noncancerous cells can be in the crossfire, creating challenging side effects. The physician will provide instructions on what cancer patients need to do to reduce these effects, but it is just as important to know what not to do while undergoing chemo treatment.
What Should You Avoid During Chemotherapy?
- UV light: Limit exposure to sunlight and stay away from tanning beds, which can have a more severe impact on the skin in an individual receiving chemotherapy.
- Vitamins: A 2019 research study pointed to evidence of a decrease in chemo’s effectiveness and a substantial decrease in the desired outcome by people who were taking certain vitamins (including B12, A, and C).
- Probiotics: Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria and yeast, but skip them during chemo due to the body’s compromised immune system.
- Infections: Because the immune system is compromised during chemotherapy, it’s very important to stay away from people who are sick.
- Smoking: Smoking may cause hypoxia (a lack of oxygen) in cancer tumors and other parts of the body, that could impact the efficacy of chemo and worsen side effects.
- Strenuous exercise and work: This can include both mentally and physically taxing tasks, which can worsen fatigue, stress, nausea, and mood swings.
- Alcohol: Alcohol can exacerbate the negative side effects of chemo, even in very small amounts.
There are also quite a few kinds of foods to steer clear of during chemo treatment, such as:
- Blue as well as other moldy cheeses
- Spicy and acidic foods and condiments
- Raw honey
- Seville oranges and their juice
- Foods from bulk bins
- Hard, sharp foods such as potato chips, cookies, crackers, and granola
- Fresh salsa and salad dressing
- Raw fish and shellfish
- Soft-cooked or raw eggs
- Raw nuts
- Grapefruits and grapefruit juice
While avoiding the items above, the following action items can be helpful during chemotherapy:
- Protect the skin from dryness and sensitivity by using gentle soap and moisturizing the skin often, wearing sunscreen, and selecting loose-fitting clothes and a hat when outdoors.
- Minimize fatigue by arranging for transportation to and from chemo appointments and designating both the day of and the day after chemo as a day of rest.
- Decrease the threat of infection by washing hands frequently, avoiding large crowds, and getting flu and COVID-19 vaccinations (if approved by the doctor).
- Mitigate appetite problems by eating smaller, more frequent meals (including lots of protein), drinking at least 8 – 12 cups of water each day, and staying as physically active as you can to help increase appetite.
Keep in mind support is very important during cancer treatment. Build a solid network of friends and family and include a professional caregiver to make sure all needs – physical, emotional, and spiritual – will be met throughout this difficult time.
Cancer care can be complicated. Let Home Sweet Home In-Home Care’s thoroughly trained and experienced care professionals help. Email or call us at (866) 229-2505 for a free in-home consultation today.