How to Deal With Chemo Side Effects

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Chemo side effects

Chemo side effects can be painful, exhausting, and generally overwhelming for people with cancer, but these tips can help ease symptoms.

If someone you love is battling cancer, they may be suffering from some unpleasant chemo side effects, and you will want to do whatever you can to help relieve these symptoms. While just being there with them to offer comfort and friendship is in itself very helpful, there are additional steps you can take.

What Can You Do to Help Ease Chemo Side Effects?

Below are some of the more prevalent problems that arise from cancer treatments, with actions you can take to help.

  • Skin Problems: Someone with cancer is at risk for a number of treatment- and disease-related skin issues. You can assist by encouraging the person to use sunscreen, helping to protect the afflicted areas of skin from bumps, bruises, or other trauma, and making sure the skin is kept clean and dry.
  • Stomach Upset: Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy, but can be eased with anti-nausea medications, avoiding greasy or spicy foods, and consuming smaller meals more often throughout the day. You can help by preparing light, healthy meals that are more tolerable for the person.
  • Hair Loss: You can encourage the person to explore wig options ahead of beginning treatment (to best match their natural hair color to the wig), if they are worried about hair loss. Hair loss can also be lessened by using baby shampoo (and washing hair less frequently), and using a soft hairbrush.
  • Depression: If you see signs of depression in the person, communicate your concern immediately to their doctor, who can review medications being taken for depressive side effects and identify the best course of action to take to help.

One of the best ways to support the person is by simply being with them. Allow the person to share their feelings, fears, and concerns, and respond in a way that shows you are listening and that you care. Sometimes a simple hug or holding hands can be extremely comforting. Be ready for the person to talk about their condition if they would like, and always be ready to lend an open and nonjudgmental ear.

Find more cancer care tips from San Diego Home Caregivers’ experts in home care assistance in San Diego, La Jolla, North County, and the surrounding communities. Learn how our in-home care services can make life easier for someone with cancer. Contact us at (619) 487-9000 any time for more information.

Providing Support to a Loved One With Cancer

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loved one with cancer

Learn some of the best ways to offer support to a loved one with cancer and how to be there for them when they need you.

Being given a cancer diagnosis is life-altering, and making sure you have a community of support is critical. When someone you love is undergoing treatment for cancer, you might feel unsure how to best help the person without overstepping boundaries or making them feel discomfort for any reason. What should you do to best help a loved one with cancer? Our aging care experts have some recommendations to get you started.

  1. Learn as much as you can. Educate yourself on the kind of cancer the person has been diagnosed with to better comprehend what they are going through. Search online for trusted sources like Johns Hopkins or the Mayo Clinic.
  2. Be there. Simply being present to listen, talk, and even laugh with the person when appropriate can be helpful to someone who wants to live life as normally as possible, even with their diagnosis.
  3. Inquire to find out precisely what they need. Oftentimes, a person with cancer or any other chronic condition will hear from well-meaning family and friends, “Let me know if you need anything!” It’s then up to the person struggling with their diagnosis to determine what’s needed, and to follow up with those who offered with ways to help. You can be proactive and find out just what will most help the person. On one day, they may want help with doing dishes, vacuuming, and laundry, while another day they may really benefit from some healthy meals prepared or just someone to talk to for a welcome distraction.
  4. Offer appropriate meals. Cancer treatments like chemo and radiation can lead to exhaustion, so preparing meals can be difficult. These kinds of treatments can also affect how food tastes. Ask the person what types of foods might be appetizing, and then make meals for them accordingly. Understand that it may take some trial and error to find what is most palatable.
  5. Be an advocate. Help the person organize any questions and concerns in advance of their next doctor’s appointment. If they wish, attend the appointment with them and help make sure each issue is addressed.

As the leading provider of home care in San Diego, La Jolla, North County, and the surrounding areas, San Diego Home Caregivers is here to help those with cancer live more comfortable lives at home. Reach out to us for more information and resources, or to request a free in-home meeting to learn more about how we can help.