The benefits of chemotherapy are irrefutable and can save someone’s life. However during the process of destroying harmful cancer cells, noncancerous cells can be in the crossfire, leading to challenging side effects. The physician will offer guidelines on what cancer patients need to do to reduce these effects, but it is just as important to know the things to avoid during chemotherapy treatment.
What Should You Avoid During Chemotherapy?
- Probiotics: Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria and yeast, but skip them during chemo because of the body’s compromised immune system.
- UV light: Limit exposure to sunlight and stay away from tanning beds, which can have a far more severe effect on the skin in someone 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 those who were taking certain vitamins (including B12, A, and C).
- Alcohol: Alcohol can worsen the negative side effects of chemo, even in very small amounts.
- Infections: Because the immune system is compromised during chemotherapy, it’s a good idea to stay away from people who are sick.
- Smoking: Smoking can lead to hypoxia (a lack of oxygen) in cancer tumors and other parts of the body, which can impact the efficacy of chemo and worsen side effects.
- Strenuous exercise and work: This includes both physically and mentally taxing tasks, which could exacerbate stress, fatigue, nausea, and mood swings.
There are also a number of types of foods to stay away from during chemo treatment, including:
- Blue as well as other moldy cheeses
- Grapefruits and grapefruit juice
- Hard, sharp foods such as potato chips, crackers, cookies, and granola
- Soft-cooked or raw eggs
- Raw honey
- Fresh salsa and salad dressing
- Raw fish and shellfish
- Seville oranges and their juice
- Foods from bulk bins
- Raw nuts
- Spicy and acidic foods and condiments
While steering clear of the items above, the following action items can be beneficial during chemotherapy:
- Protect the skin from dryness and sensitivity through the use of gentle soap and moisturizing the skin often, wearing sunscreen, and choosing loose-fitting clothes and a hat when outdoors
- Mitigate appetite problems by eating smaller, more frequent meals (including plenty of protein), drinking at least 8 – 12 cups of water each day, and staying as physically active as you possibly can to help increase appetite
- Reduce the threat of infection by washing hands frequently, avoiding large crowds, and getting flu and COVID-19 vaccinations (if approved by the doctor)
- Lessen fatigue by arranging for transportation to and from chemo appointments and designating both the day of as well as the day after chemo as days of rest
Keep in mind support is essential during cancer treatment. Build a solid network of friends and family and include a professional caregiver to make certain all needs – physical, emotional, and spiritual – will be met throughout this difficult time.
Cancer care can be complex. Let Radiant Health Services’ fully trained and experienced care professionals help. Reach out to us at (240) 673-6377 for a free in-home consultation today and to learn more about our in-home care services and the areas we serve in Maryland.