Chemotherapy, or « chemo, » is a powerful chemical medication used to treat cancer. It is administered in order to kill cancerous cells in the body or to shrink existing tumors until they are operable. Though chemo can be very effective, it also has risks and side effects. Some people experience nausea, loss of appetite, hair loss, fatigue, fever, and pain. Chemo also has some lasting side effects such as memory loss, heart problems, and risk of future cancer. There are steps you can take to improve your lifestyle and help your body recover from this sometimes debilitating treatment « See Reference 1. »
Visit your doctor often. Make frequent followup appointments with your physician to check your progress and discuss any lingering problems. You will need to make these trips to the doctor a priority for the rest of your life « See reference 2. »
Avoid harmful substances such as alcohol and cigarettes. These substances can exacerbate your health problems and even cause other cancers to develop. Alcohol also impairs the function of your liver, and you will need fully working organs to help your body recover from cancer treatment « See Reference 2. »
Eat healthy foods and exercise. Make sure you get your full daily serving of fruits and vegetables to keep your body in top shape. The fiber in fruits and vegetables, as well as other nutritious foods like whole grains, can help prevent the recurrence of cancer and keep your weight and blood fats under control. Exercise daily; even light walking will do wonders to repair your body « See Reference 2. »
Visit a specialist if you experience memory or thought impairment. According to the Mayo Clinic, this phenomenon is known as « Chemo Brain, » a name for the cognitive issues patients often face after chemotherapy. A neuropsychologist can help you adapt to the changes in your brain and repair your thinking patterns. Do repetition exercises to help your memory function « See Reference 3. »
Protect yourself against infection, since your weakened immune system will leave you more vulnerable to diseases. Wash your hands after using the bathroom or before eating. Keep away from family and friends with colds or the flu.