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Side Effects and How to Manage Them

Not all treatments have the same side effects. Because of this, patients experience treatments differently than others. Please talk with your doctor or nurse about the possible side effects of your specific treatment. Your care team is here to support you and help you manage any side effects in the best way possible.

Loss of Appetite/Weight Loss

Please let your care team know if you have a change in appetite or weight loss during your treatment.
Try these tips:

  • Eat small meals often throughout the day.
  • Eat foods that are high in protein and calories.
  • Use nutritional supplements as directed.

Nausea

If you have nausea:

  • Eat small meals often throughout the day.
  • Take anti-nausea medicine if prescribed by your treatment team (as directed).
  • Do not eat foods that are fatty, sweet, spicy or very salty.

Please tell your care team if your nausea or vomiting does not go away with medicine, or if you cannot drink or keep
fluids down.

Diarrhea

If you have diarrhea:

  • Eat a low-fiber diet high in protein and calories.
  • Follow a BRAT diet: bananas, rice and toast.
  • Do not eat whole grains, seeds, nuts and foods that are greasy and spicy.
  • Stay away from fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink lots of fluids, at least 6-8 eight-ounce glasses each day or more if told to you by your treatment team.
  • Drink fluids with electrolytes, not just plain water, and stay away from fluids with caffeine.
  • Limit or cut out milk and other dairy products.
  • Take medicine for diarrhea as directed by your treatment team.

Please let your care team know if you have more than four loose stools over a 24-hour period.

Constipation

If you have constipation:

  • Eat more high-fiber foods.
  • Drink at least 6-8 eight-ounce glasses of fluid each day.
  • Increase physical activity, if you can.
  • Avoid straining.
  • Take stool softeners or laxatives as directed by your treatment team.

Please tell your care team if you do not have a bowel movement within a 24-hour period.
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Mouth and Throat Changes

Please let your care team know if you have any changes in your mouth and throat because of your treatment. These include:

  • Sores or ulcers
  • Dryness

Try these tips:

  • Clean your mouth 3-4 times a day using a soft toothbrush and mild toothpaste.
  • Keep your lips moist by using lip balm, petroleum jelly or other products.
  • Do not eat irritating foods (including foods that are acidic, spicy, salty or coarse).
  • Eat soft and moist foods that are easy to swallow.
  • Rinse your mouth with a mixture of warm salt water and baking soda. (Ask your nurse for instructions on the recipe.)
  • Do not use alcohol-based oral hygiene products.
  • Stay away from tobacco, alcohol and sugary drinks.

More Side Effects:

  • Low White Blood Cell Count and Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Anemia
  • Cancer-Related Fatigue
  • Nail Inflammation and Infection
  • Skin Reactions

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