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Chemotherapy (cont.)

How will I feel during chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy affects people in different ways. How you feel depends on how healthy you are before treatment, your type of cancer, how advanced it is, the kind of chemotherapy you are getting, and the dose. Doctors and nurses cannot know for certain how you will feel during chemotherapy.

Some people do not feel well right after chemotherapy. The most common side effect is fatigue, feeling exhausted and worn out. You can prepare for fatigue by:

  • Asking someone to drive you to and from chemotherapy
  • Planning time to rest on the day of and day after chemotherapy
  • Getting help with meals and childcare the day of and at least 1 day after chemotherapy

There are many ways you can help manage chemotherapy side effects.

Can I work during chemotherapy?

Many people can work during chemotherapy, as long as they match their schedule to how they feel. Whether or not you can work may depend on what kind of work you do. If your job allows, you may want to see if you can work part-time or work from home on days you do not feel well.

Many employers are required by law to change your work schedule to meet your needs during cancer treatment. Talk with your employer about ways to adjust your work during chemotherapy. You can learn more about these laws by talking with a social worker.

Sometimes your doctor may advise you not to work from a period of time, such as when your immune system is low during chemotherapy.

Can I take over-the-counter and prescription drugs while I get chemotherapy?

This depends on the type of chemotherapy you get and the other types of drugs you plan to take. Take only drugs that are approved by your doctor or nurse. Tell your doctor or nurse about all the over-the-counter and prescription drugs you take, including laxatives, allergy medicines, cold medicines, pain relievers, aspirin, and ibuprofen.

One way to let your doctor or nurse know about these drugs is by bringing in all your pill bottles. Your doctor or nurse needs to know:

  • The name of each drug
  • The reason you take it
  • How much you take
  • How often you take it

Talk to your doctor or nurse before you take any over-the-counter or prescription drugs, vitamins, minerals, dietary supplements, or herbs.

Can I take vitamins, minerals, dietary supplements, or herbs while I get chemotherapy?

Some of these products can change how chemotherapy works. For this reason, it is important to tell your doctor or nurse about all the vitamins, minerals, dietary supplements, and herbs that you take before you start chemotherapy. During chemotherapy, talk with your doctor before you take any of these products.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/5/2014

Patient Comments

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Chemotherapy - Coping With Side Effects Question: What chemotherapy side effects have you experienced? How do you cope with the side effects?
Chemotherapy - Experiences Question: What was your experience with chemotherapy?
Cancer - Patient Experience Question: How was your chemotherapy administered? Were there any complications that resulted from the delivery method?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/chemotherapy/article.htm

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