We can certainly provide you with information to reach out to nutritionists or dieticians, but there are a few pieces of advice we can offer to keep in mind during the time of your treatment.
- Getting enough calories and protein needs to be your first priority
- Weight loss is not uncommon, but it is most important to consider the rate of your weight loss, even if you started out overweight
- Rapid weight loss as a result of tissue damage from surgery, chemotherapy or radiation can lead to muscle loss, which is why protein is so important.
- Loss of appetite is also not uncommon so it is important to plan out meals, concentrate on calories, keep your food fun and supplementing foods you like with calories and protein.
- Exercise can help build up your appetite.
- There are simple ways to eliminate bad or strange tastes, enhance flavors and make food easier to eat with side effects of dry mouth.
It is important to remember that every patient responds differently to treatment, so if you are unsure if your side effects are normal be sure to reach out to your doctor or the team at Cedar Lake Oncology.
- Cystitis: inflammation of the bladder causing uncomfortable urination, blood in the urine, frequent urination, urinary urgency and fever. This can be a side effect with abdominal or pelvic radiation.
- Diarrhea: Certain antibiotics, chemotherapies and radiation to the abdominal and pelvic areas may cause diarrhea.
- Fatigue: Treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, biotherapy and surgery can cause fatigue which can also be linked to stress and depression.
- Hair Loss: This is a commonly assumed side effect of cancer treatment but is most commonly linked with chemotherapy, but can also be a result of some radiation. Be sure to ask your physician about whether your treatment plan could result in partial or complete hair loss.
- Low Blood Count: Chemotherapy, radiation and some cancers that involve bone marrow (leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma) may lower the levels of blood cells.
- Mucositis: This side effects includes mouth sores, increases in saliva, swollen tissues/tongue or white/yellowish film on areas of your mouth. Radiation therapy only causes damage to the area of mucous membranes being treated, so this is not a concern if you are not receiving treatment on your head/neck region. Also, keep in mind that IMRT enables us to better target concentrated areas.
- Nausea and Vomiting: If you are receiving radiation treatment in the chest or abdominal area, your doctor could prescribe a prescription to eliminate these symptoms.
- Skin Problems: Sometimes radiation patients might experience some slight irritation to redness, dryness and peeling. There are things to do to avoid additional irritation including; wearing looser clothes, using vitamin E lotion, and avoiding sun, starch, hot/cold packs, shaving and deodorant products.
- Weight loss: Please see our nutrition advice above.