This is a sponsored guest post.
As a part of breast cancer treatment, chemotherapy and radiation destroy the cancerous cells and in the process, they also affect many healthy cells as well. This can change the way a patient feels during and after treatment. In general, they cause:
- Early menopause
- Vomiting and nausea
- Mouth sores
- Loss of appetite
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Weakness and fatigue
- A higher risk of developing infections
Certain medications and related therapies can effectively help in reducing the side effects and associated risks of this fatal disease.
When going for breast cancer treatment, it is important for every woman to understand its associated risks and plausible side effects. Some of these are mentioned as follows:
Higher Risk of Infections
One of the major side effects or rightly state as the risk associated with breast cancer treatment is the body’s exposure to a number of unknown infections. While chemotherapy and radiation, together help in destroying cancerous cells and stopping them from spreading further, they also kill many healthy cells including the white blood cells. White blood cells are the fighter cells of the body. Their reduced quantity affects the body’s mechanism to fight foreign elements, hence exposing it further to infections.
The best way to avoid catching infection is to stay away from crowded areas and sick people for at least for 7 to 10 days after a chemotherapy. If in case you get sick, seeking the assistance of your physician right away is imperative. He/she shall prescribe you some medications as a precaution.
Weakness and Fatigue
As stated above, cancer treatment makes the body weak and fragile and hence, you are likely to feel more fatigued than normal. For this,
- Eat a healthy diet. Add iron-rich foods to your meals, like leafy vegetables, lean meat, beans, and some iron-fortified cereals or pasta.
- Sleep for at least 8 hours at night and try and lie down for a couple of hours in the day as well. The more you rest, the better you’ll feel.
- Take up some light exercises. Go for short walks. Involve yourself in some daily chores. Perform yoga. These are some effective ways to keep this risk of breast cancer treatment at bay.
- Don’t over exert yourself. Save your energy for more important things.
- If you experience pain, inform your physician immediately. He/she may prescribe you some over-the-counter pain relievers.
Loss of Appetite
More than a risk, it’s a side effect of breast cancer treatment. With the body losing its healthy cells in the phenomenon, it even loses its appetite. This further makes it hard for the body to get its required nutrition, especially needed after such strenuous treatments.
Use these tips and tricks to make sure you’re eating a healthy, filling diet.
- Eat small meals several times a day rather than the usual three large ones.
- Try adding nutritional shakes between meals. They are good energy boosters.
- Eat a large meal when you’re most hungry during the entire day.
- Drink plenty of water and other beverages to keep the body hydrated and tummy full.
- Try some moderate exercises that help in increasing your appetite. But, do consult your physician before taking up these exercises.
Nausea and Vomiting
Another risk of getting breast cancer treatment is experiencing nausea. While some people may experience it right after the treatment, some may witness it after many days. Asking your physician about medications which can reduce the effects of nausea can make you feel better. At the same time, keep a track of your episodes of nature. This may help your physician in spotting some patterns, which may further aid in eliminating certain problems from surfacing.
- Eat small meals more often and avoid any kind of greasy or citrus foods.
- When you’re nauseated, it’s best to have bland foods like ice chips, crackers, rice, gelatin, or plain mashed potatoes.
- Try having your foods at room temperature instead of very hot or cold.
Immediately inform your physician if you have severe nausea or you’re constantly vomiting. If you vomit, wait for about an hour before having anything to drink or eat. Chamomile, ginger root tea, and ginger ale can help in settling your upset stomach.
Though there’s no direction correlation between the two conditions, but sometimes breast cancer treatment can make your mouth and throat sore. Ask your physician about plausible reasons and seek ways to stop the pain.
- Ask your physician about medications which can ease mouth soreness.
- Eat soft foods which do not irritate your mouth
- Eat small pieces of food rather than taking big bites.
- Avoid having citrus fruits, salty or spicy items, and foods that contain roughage.
While not everyone loses their hair during cancer treatment, it is one of the risks associated with breast cancer treatment. Loss of hair typically depends on the type of chemotherapy being given and its dosage. Some women witness hair thinning, many others lose it completely during the entire course of treatment, including their eyelashes and eyebrows. At the same time, some are able to regrow their hair, others will have to turn to artificial hair.
This is an unusual risk that comes hand-in-hand with breast cancer treatment. While most women lose weight during the entire course of action, some gain weight. This may be because they:
- Are less active during the treatment
- Focus more on eating
- Undergo depression
- Experience Hormonal changes
- Are prescribed medications which increase weight
When do these Risks turn into a Sign of Emergency?
Seek the assistance of your physician if you have:
- Temperature over 100.4 F and experience chills.
- Mouth sores, a swollen tongue, bleeding gums or patches
- A dry, scratchy, swollen or a burning throat
- Cough that doesn’t go away
- Experience problem with urination
- Problems like nausea, heartburn, vomiting, blood in stool, constipation, or diarrhea that is severe in nature or persists for more than 2 to 3 days at a stretch.
Going for a breast cancer treatment is not an option but a compulsion to save yourself from this fatal disease and live a healthy, long life. However, the disease comes with its terms and conditions and may risks, which are pretty much unavoidable in nature. Seeking the assistance of your physician and ensuring you follow their instructions properly is the only way to keep the above mentioned risks in check.