Diagnosis: Cancer

Cycle of Hope

Equip Yourself

Cancer Treatment

Treatment Team

Questions to Ask
Healthy Lifestyles


Tips on Coping with Chemotherapy

Taking a course of chemotherapy is not always easy, but the benefits far outweigh the difficulties. Here are some tips to help you cope:

Tell your medical team how you're reacting to chemotherapy. It is important to tell your doctors and nurses about any side effects you are experiencing from chemotherapy so that they can treat and help you understand them.

Get the support you deserve. No one needs to go through chemotherapy alone. Your health care team has the medical information and experience to guide you through your treatment. Professional counselors are available to help you get through the emotional side of cancer treatments, and support groups can offer an experienced point of view on your journey. And, most importantly, family members and friends are there to support and help you in many ways. Don't hesitate to use the resources available to you.

Keep your treatment goals in mind. Take your treatment one day at a time.

Maintain a nutritious diet. A healthy diet, filled with proteins, fruits and vegetables, is a key factor in rebuilding tissue and regaining strength. Some researchers believe that diets high in protein and calories help stop some side effects. Consult your doctor or a nutritionist for help in designing a nourishing, realistic diet. If you have appetite problems or trouble with weight loss, talk to your doctor or nurse about medications to improve your appetite and weight.

Stay active. Keeping up your regular activities helps focus your mind on something besides your illness and keeps you in touch with the rest of the world. Exercise is a wonderful way to relieve tension and rebuild your body strength and muscle tone. But, don't overdo it - participate only in those activities that are advised by your doctor and most important to you.

Try relaxation techniques to relieve stress. There are many ways to relieve stress: rhythmic breathing, muscle tension and release, biofeedback, imagery and visualization, hypnosis, prayer and meditation. Find a method that works for you and make it a part of your daily routine. Give yourself a break. Don't expect too much of yourself while you are on your chemotherapy routine. Do what you feel like doing and don't feel guilty if that includes taking a nap, limiting your normal activities or asking for help.