5 vital steps to prepare yourself for chemotherapy

Here’s how to ensure you prepare your life and those around you for the impact of chemotherapy.

19 May 2015
by Rebekah Kendal

1. Ask the right questions

To prepare yourself mentally, be sure to ask your oncologist these questions:

  • What is the goal of this chemotherapy?
  • What are the benefits of chemotherapy?
  • What are the risks of chemotherapy?
  • Are there any other ways to treat my type of cancer?
  • What is the standard care for my type of cancer?
  • How many cycles of chemotherapy will I get?
  • How will these drugs be given?
  • What side effects can I expect straight away?
  • What side effects can I expect later on?
  • How serious are the side effects?

2. At work

Talk to your employer about arranging time off work for treatments and recovery. You may have to work part-time for a while.

3. Dental health check-up

Because chemo can cause mouth sores, it is important to have a complete dental check-up – and get any necessary work done – before you begin chemo.

4. Existing medications

Chemo drugs can interact with other medications – including over-the-counter drugs and vitamin supplements – so it is important to give your doctor a complete record of everything you are taking.

5. On the day

Going for your first treatment can be frightening – a close friend or family member can provide much-needed support. Depending on the type of treatment you are receiving, you might also want to pack in an MP3-player, a tablet, or a book or magazine.

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