Five Essential Precautions You Need to Take During Chemotherapy

Five Essential Precautions You Need to Take During Chemotherapy 1

During chemotherapy, it’s crucial for you to prioritize your well-being and safety. Chemotherapy treatments can be effective in fighting cancer, but they also come with potential risks that you need to be aware of.

Chemotherapy works by targeting rapidly dividing cells, which includes cancer cells but can also affect healthy cells in your body. This means that while chemotherapy is fighting the cancer, it can also cause damage to other organs and tissues, leading to various side effects.

To help mitigate these effects and protect your overall health, it’s important to take certain precautions before, during, and after chemotherapy sessions. In this blog post, we’ll explore five essential precautions that you should incorporate to help you navigate chemotherapy treatment with greater ease.

Understand Your Treatment Plan

Understanding your treatment plan is crucial during chemotherapy. You should familiarize yourself with the medications and procedures involved in your treatment regimen. Your healthcare team can provide detailed information and address any questions you may have. Ensure you know the schedule for your chemotherapy sessions and any pre-treatment preparations required. 

Platinum-based chemotherapies are popular among cancer patients and are utilized to cure the condition. They are often used in combination and are highly effective against various types of cancer, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, and gynecologic cancers. However, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has found shortages of these chemotherapeutic agents across the United States.

A survey by NCCN revealed that 93% of U.S. cancer centers were facing a shortage of carboplatin, while 70% experienced a shortage of cisplatin. Fortunately, 100% of cancer centers successfully treated patients requiring cisplatin without any delays. However, only 64% of centers could maintain all carboplatin patients on their current regimen. Such findings are important for cancer patients to decide on their treatment plan by collaborating with an oncologist.

Avoid Sick Contacts

Steering clear of sick contacts is crucial during chemotherapy. Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick or showing signs of illness. This reduces your risk of contracting infections and becoming more vulnerable during treatment.

If possible, limit your exposure to crowded or public places where the likelihood of encountering sick individuals is higher. This precaution helps safeguard your health and minimizes the chances of complications arising from infections.

Manage Side Effects Effectively

Effectively managing side effects is crucial during chemotherapy. Stay informed about potential side effects before starting treatment. Communicate any symptoms to your healthcare team promptly for appropriate management. This may include medications, lifestyle changes, or supportive care measures. 

Cancer patients must also remain cautious regarding the side effects associated with catheter devices. According to TorHoerman Law, Port-a-catheters or implantable ports are commonly used medical devices for patients undergoing long-term treatments like chemotherapy. However, some port catheter devices have been associated with complications such as migration, fracture, and other injuries.

Port-a-Catheter migration symptoms encompass localized pain, alterations in catheter function, detectable movement of the port, and unusual sensations in the chest or neck region. Complications resulting from Port-a-Catheter migration, such as vessel damage or embolism, usually necessitate urgent medical attention. This often involves surgical removal of the migrated catheter and management of any associated injuries.

Prioritize Nutritious Eating

Cancer patients frequently encounter nutritional deficiencies, exacerbating their current condition. A study published in Frontiers Media assessed the nutritional status of 561 oncology patients. Nutritional status was evaluated using the PG-SGA, BMI was classified according to WHO criteria, and weight loss percentage was calculated over the previous 3–6 months.

According to the results, 34% of cancer patients experienced weight loss in the month leading up to admission, while 53% had lost 10.2% of their weight in the last 6 months. Moreover, the PG-SGA found that approximately 89% of patients were moderately to severely malnourished. Among these patients, 83% scored ≥9 points, indicating an immediate need for dietary assistance.

Emphasize eating a well-rounded diet comprising a range of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These foods provide essential nutrients that support your body’s immune system and overall health.

Consider working with a registered dietitian who can provide valuable guidance on managing side effects like nausea, taste changes, and appetite loss. By doing so, they ensure you maintain optimal nutrition throughout your treatment journey.

Practice Good Hand Hygiene

A recent study published in ScienceDirect examined the perspective of individuals with cancer toward infection prevention and control (IPC). Past studies have highlighted the importance of IPC measures in cancer treatment.

Findings reveal that 99% of respondents were aware of hand hygiene, but 41% were poorly educated about its importance in preventing antibiotic resistance. The study also uncovered positive support for IPC, particularly within the domain of patient responsibilities.

Maintaining good hand hygiene is essential during chemotherapy. Frequently cleanse your hands with soap and water, particularly before and after handling food, surfaces, or your face. This practice prevents the transmission of germs and lowers infection risks.

Encourage those around you, including family members and caregivers, to practice good hand hygiene as well. This effort helps foster a healthier environment for everyone involved in your care during chemotherapy treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What Activities Should You Avoid During Chemotherapy?

During chemotherapy, it’s advisable to avoid activities that may compromise your immune system. Steer clear of crowded places where exposure to germs is high. Additionally, avoid contact sports and activities that may pose injury risks.

What Precautions Should You Take When Living With Someone on Chemo?

When living with someone on chemo, take precautions to minimize infection risks. Practice good hand hygiene and cleanliness in shared spaces. Ensure proper ventilation and maintain a healthy environment for their well-being.

What Is the Fastest Way to Recover From Chemotherapy?

To recover quickly from chemotherapy, prioritize rest and hydration. Follow a balanced diet rich in nutrients. Participate in light physical activity as advised by your healthcare provider.

In conclusion, implementing these six essential precautions during chemotherapy can significantly enhance your safety and well-being throughout treatment. By prioritizing these measures, you can minimize potential risks and side effects, allowing for a smoother and more successful chemotherapy journey.


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