Managing Chemotherapy: 10 Tips for Cancer Patients

Cancer is a disease that chooses its victim. Irrespective of age, gender, and race, anyone can be diagnosed with it. It's a life-changing experience as you go through a whole lot of anguish and trauma. However, if you pull through, you come out stronger, wiser, and of course, healthier.

Doctor with cancer patient wearing headscarf

 If you're currently battling some form of cancer and are considering/undergoing chemotherapy, it would help to know a few simple coping mechanisms. Since the process is quite taxing on the body and mind, even the slightest comfort level can feel like a tremendous relief. Listed below are some handy tips that will help you manage the common side effects of chemo, such as fatigue, hair loss, and nausea.


Let yourself rest

What new chemotherapy patients don't realize is that the treatment itself is a gruesome and draining process. You lose a considerable amount of energy and strength. Being frazzled is a common side effect of chemotherapy, which is why you should get ample rest. Try to keep physical activity to the bare minimum, even if you think you're doing okay. Remember, there's nothing wrong with asking for help until you regain your strength.


Read up more on your cancer

Cancers are of different sorts; the lethality varies from one to the other. For example, thyroid and prostate cancer patients have a high chance of surviving. Meanwhile, mesothelioma and liver cancer patients can have it considerably worse. It's best to well-informed about your type of cancer so you can take the correct measures at the right time. Increased know-how will also help you choose proper treatment plans and health measures to prevent the condition from worsening.


Eat whenever possible

Since nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy, it is also common for patients to reduce their food intake to avoid these feelings. However, this is not advisable because your body needs nourishment to fight the disease. To avoid malnutrition, you must eat whenever you can, even if it's just a few bites. You will have to adapt to changes in taste as the cells in your oral cavity will die down, and as a result, your food will start to taste a bit like metal. Have bananas or ramen if your stomach is full. Get pills for it if you think it will take its toll on you or if you're not up for such extreme solutions, you can opt for chewing gum, mints, or sitting in an open-air environment. 


Can't eat a lot? Keep yourself hydrated

If you can't eat a lot, hydrate yourself with water and other healthy drinks.  Diarrhea and throwing up will become a common occurrence, which is why you will have to drink as much water as you can to avoid dehydration. You can have juices and milk, which will maintain your water level and provide you the nutrients you need.


Know that you're not alone

Chemotherapy is as mentally exhausting as it is physically. Still, emotional and moral support can make it less wearing. Your doctor and nursing staff are by your side, no matter what. But it's also favorable to open up and look to your loved ones, be those friends or family. Involving your loved ones will help you get through your chemo sessions smoothly. It will also allow you to have someone to talk to, which will lower your anxiety. Support groups can also help you and your journey feel relatable, enabling you to cope with stress.


Surround yourself with your favorite things

To keep yourself in a good and lighthearted mood, you must have your favorite things right beside you. It could be a toy or gaming console or your favorite blanket, for that matter. Anything that makes you feel better and helps you keep your sanity intact should be readily available to you. Have your favorite games downloaded or pop out your favorite book - whatever makes you feel better and bucks you up.

woman reading:Photo by Ben White on Unsplash


Normalcy will keep you sane

Giving in to cancer will only worsen things for you. The more you think about it, the more it's bound to eat you up. To deal with this, try carrying on with your daily routine and act as if nothing has changed. Eating a meal, dressing up, watching TV, and even downtime can help you have a sense of normality.


Learn to cope with hair loss

As hair fall in chemotherapy is almost unavoidable, trimming or completely shaving your hair is always a good option. If you miss having a full mop of hair, try wearing wigs of different styles. However, you can also choose to hide hair loss by wearing scarves. Or why not just own the look naturally?


Improve your hygiene

Since your white blood cell (WBC) count decreases as you progress into the later stages of chemotherapy, you need to be careful about your hygiene. WBCs are the cells that help fight infections and kill germs. Without them, you'll want to take precautions such as washing your hands as much as you can and keep yourself tidy. Keep your surroundings clean and ensure whatever you touch has been cleaned. It is best to keep yourself safe from infections while in a vulnerable state.


Inspire yourself but don't latch onto someone's story

Regardless of all the fruitful advice you get, your experience with chemotherapy will be different than others. For example, activity levels may vary from person to person, so do not feel disheartened if you are not as active as others undergoing chemo. You may be cranky at first, and that's alright. Motivate yourself and learn how to be the best version of yourself during this period; make your own story. Be an inspiration to other chemotherapy and cancer patients. 



Being diagnosed with and battling cancer can be a challenging experience. However, with the correct care, love, mentality, and support, anything is possible. Having a helping hand during a difficult period in your life goes a long, long way. The tips mentioned above should help you get through this tough time and make the results worthwhile.