Chemotherapy is the leading treatment for cancer. Unfortunately, it also comes with its fair share of side effects. Some of the most common side effects of cancer treatment include fatigue, hair loss, nausea and vomiting, easy bruising, and anemia. Medications do exist to limit the effects chemo can have on the body; however, medications are not your only option for chemo side effect management. If you or a loved one is undergoing chemo, here are a few things you can do to limit or manage the side effects.
Massage Therapy Has Been Proven Effective
Though there may be no single cure-all for the effects of chemotherapy, studies have shown massage therapy to be an effective way to handle a good number of symptoms including the common problem of nausea. Furthermore, massages can also limit the mental effects of cancer and chemo such as anxiety and negative moods.
Acupuncture Can Also Be Highly Effective
Studies have shown that acupuncture can also be a great way to cope with the more common effects of chemotherapy. Studies done by Yale showed a decrease in symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, hot flashes, anxiety, headaches, sleep disturbances, and pain.
The downside to acupuncture is the likelihood of getting it covered by insurance. Fortunately, acupuncture is somewhat affordable and does not need to be frequently done to achieve the desired effects.
Medications Should Not Be Ignored
Despite the national move toward natural remedies, the prescribed nausea medications recommended by your doctor shouldn’t be shrugged off. These medications are the result of scientific innovation and can be extremely effective in fighting nausea. If your doctor believes these will help, you should listen. You can always supplement these medications with alternative methods in order to tackle side effects beyond nausea.
Some Herbs Can Be Beneficial
While herbs should never be used in place of proven treatments or without consulting your doctor, there are some herbal remedies that have been proven to counteract some side effects of chemo. Ginger is one of the best-known herbs for tackling nausea, while milk thistle has been observed as helpful in managing the liver inflammation that can come with chemotherapy.
If you are going to use herbal remedies, be sure to research the claims well, accepting advice only from scientifically-backed sources. Not all sources advocating for the use of homeopathic remedies are reliable.
Making Dietary Changes Can Aid with Both Chemo and Battling Cancer
Certain foods, diets, and nutrients can have major impacts on how you feel, how the cancer develops, and how chemotherapy affects you. Of course, chemo can also alter the way you perceive certain foods, making it hard to eat the way you may be accustomed to. Researching well-studied diets for cancer and chemotherapy is well worth your time for both managing the side effects of treatment and aiding your body in fighting cancer.
There are many ways to handle cancer and chemo. Not every solution will help every person, and it may take a little experimentation to figure out what helps you best. It is also important to keep in mind that nausea medication is just as valid as taking ginger for nausea. Natural remedies are not necessarily superior, and it is important that you take your doctor’s advice into account.
“Most people with cancer notice that they have a lot less energy,” says the American Cancer Society. “During chemotherapy and radiation, most patients have fatigue. Fatigue is when your body and brain feel tired. This tiredness does not get better with rest. For many, fatigue is severe and limits their activity. But inactivity leads to muscle wasting and loss of function.”
This is why getting exercise is still extremely important. You don’t have to overdo it, but there are plenty of ways to get some activity in right at home that may be able to make a difference.
Regular exercise can reduce fatigue and help you regain some of your energy.
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