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How to Help Ease the Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

cancer patient comforted by family
cancer patient comforted by family
Learn about four common side effects of cancer treatment and how you can help minimize them.

If a person you love is fighting cancer, they may be suffering from a few unpleasant side effects of the cancer treatment they are receiving, and you will want to do whatever you can to help relieve these symptoms. Even though just being there with them to provide comfort and friendship is in itself extremely helpful, there are additional steps you can take.

What Can You Do to Help Reduce the Side Effects of Cancer Treatment?

Below are some of the most common difficulties that arise from cancer treatment, with actions you can take to help.

  • Hair Loss: You can encourage the person to look into wig options before beginning treatment (to best match their natural hair color to the wig), if they are worried about hair loss. Hair loss can also be reduced by using baby shampoo (and washing hair less frequently), and using a soft hairbrush.
  • Stomach Upset: Nausea and vomiting are prevailing side effects of chemotherapy, but can be alleviated with anti-nausea meds, avoiding greasy or spicy foods, and consuming smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. You can help by preparing light, nutritious meals that are more tolerable for the person.
  • Depression: If you notice signs of depression in the person, communicate your concern right away with their doctor, who can evaluate medications being taken for depressive side effects and identify the best course of action to take to help.
  • Skin Problems: Someone with cancer is at an increased risk for a number of treatment- and disease-related skin concerns. You can help by encouraging the person to use sunscreen, helping to guard the impacted areas of skin from bumps, bruises, or other trauma, and making sure the skin is always clean and dry.

One of the best ways to help the person is by simply being with them. Allow the person to share their thoughts, fears, and concerns, and respond in a way that lets them know you are listening and that you care. In some cases a simple hug or holding the person’s hands can be extremely comforting. Be ready for the person to talk about their illness if they wish, and always be ready to lend an open and nonjudgmental ear.

Find more cancer care tips from CareFor’s experts in home care assistance in Austin, San Antonio, San Marcos, Waco, and the surrounding communities, and learn how our in-home care services can make life more comfortable for someone with cancer. Contact us at (512) 338-4533 any time for more information.

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