Managing side effects
The side effects of breast cancer treatment can be serious. Healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep and exercise may help control your symptoms. Your doctor may also give you medicines to help you with certain side effects, such as medicines to control and prevent nausea and vomiting.
- Home treatment for fatigue includes learning how to manage when you feel a tiredness that doesn't go away with rest or sleep. For example, if taking a shower is a priority, and mornings are when you have the most energy, plan to take your shower at that time.
- Home treatment for nausea or vomiting
includes watching for and treating early signs of dehydration, such as having a dry mouth or feeling lightheaded when you stand up. Eating smaller meals may help. So can a little bit of ginger candy or ginger tea.
- Home treatment for diarrhea includes
resting your stomach and being alert for signs of dehydration. Check with your
doctor before using any nonprescription medicines for your diarrhea. Be sure to
drink enough fluids.
- Home treatment for constipation
includes making sure that you drink enough fluids and eat fruits, vegetables, and
fiber in your diet each day. Do not use a laxative without first talking to
Other problems that can be treated at home include:
- Sleep problems. If you have trouble sleeping, managing sleep problems may help. This includes establishing a sleep routine and making your bedroom a restful place.
- Hair loss may be unavoidable. But you can
decrease irritation of your scalp by using mild shampoos and avoiding damaging
- Stress. Cancer and its treatment can be stressful. But there are many steps you can take to manage stress, from learning specific relaxation skills to finding ways to express yourself..
- Pain. Not all forms of cancer or cancer treatment cause pain. But if you do have pain, there are many home treatments that can help, such as over-the-counter medicines and using ice and heat.
- Lymphedema, which is swelling of the arm. You can reduce your risk for lymphedema by protecting your arm on the side where you had surgery
and letting your doctor know right away if you have swelling or redness in that
- Lymphedema: Managing Lymphedema
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Catherine D. Serio, PhD - Behavioral Health
June 18, 2012
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