- Understanding Chemotherapy: A Guide for Patients and Families
- Learning about chemotherapy treatment
- A checklist of questions to ask your doctor or nurse
- Should I get a second opinion?
- Where will I get chemo?
- How will the chemo be given to me?
- What are clinical trials?
- Can I take other medicines while I am getting chemo?
- How will I know if the chemo is working?
- How do I give my permission for this treatment?
- Chemo safety
- Will I be able to work during treatment?
- Chemo side effects
- What are common side effects?
- Hair loss
- Increased chance of bruising, bleeding, and infection
- Nausea and vomiting
- Other chemo side effects and tips to manage them
- Mouth, gum, and throat problems
- Nerve and muscle problems
- Skin and nail changes
- Urine changes and bladder and kidney problems
- Weight gain
- Other questions you may have
- When to call your doctor
- Sex, fertility, and chemo
- Thoughts, emotions, and chemo
- Paying for chemo treatment
- More information from your American Cancer Society
Other questions you may have
Can I drink alcohol?
Small amounts of alcohol can help you relax and increase your appetite. But alcohol may interact with some drugs so that they don’t work as well, or it may make the side effects worse. Be sure to ask your doctor if you can drink beer, wine, or any other alcoholic beverages.
Should I take vitamin or mineral supplements?
There’s no single answer to this question, but one thing is clear: No diet or nutritional plan can “cure” cancer. Taking vitamin and mineral supplements or any other complementary and alternative medicine should never take the place of medical care. You should not take any supplements without talking to your doctor first.
For more information, please call us or visit our Web site to get our Guidelines for Using Complementary and Alternative Methods and Complementary and Alternative Methods for Cancer Management.
What is radiation recall?
If you have had radiation treatments before, you could develop radiation recall. During or shortly after you get certain chemo drugs, the skin over the area that was treated with radiation may turn red – a shade anywhere from light to very bright – and may itch or burn. This is radiation recall, and the reaction may last hours or even days. You can soothe the itching and burning by putting a cool, wet compress over the affected area. Tell your doctor or nurse about any skin irritation or changes. Skin that has had radiation always should be protected from the sun.
Last Medical Review: 03/07/2013
Last Revised: 03/07/2013