Chemotherapy Tips

Chemotherapy tips

 

If you decide to opt for chemotherapy, there are a number of things you can do do to improve outcomes and reduce side effects. Here are some of them:

1. Get a Chemosensitivity Test

Find out which anti-cancer drugs are effective at killing YOUR cancer cells and which agents are not effective. The most promising drug regimen can be selected for you, increasing the odds for treatment success. At the same time, ineffective drugs are avoided.
Go to Tests page

2. Improve the effects of chemotherapy

The following can enhances the effects of chemo:
Whole body Hyperthermia (study)
Hyperbaric Oxygen (study)
Reduced Calorie Intake (study)

Melatonin (study)
Burberine (study)
Curcumin (study)
See also Hyperthermia page

Aloe Vera
A study published in PubMed which looked at the effects of using Aloe Vera and chemotherapy together found: The percentage of both objective tumor regressions and disease control was significantly higher in patients concomitantly treated with Aloe than with chemotherapy alone, as well as the percent of 3-year survival patients. This study seems to suggest that Aloe may be successfully associated with chemotherapy to increase its efficacy in terms of both tumor regression rate and survival time.

3. Ask your doctor about Melatonin

Current evidence indicates that supplemental melatonin may positively influence tumor remission and survival of cancer patients, as well as protecting against side effects from anticancer treatment.

Melatonin is a hormone in your body that plays a role in sleep. The production and release of melatonin in the brain is connected to time of day, increasing when it’s dark and decreasing when it’s light.

Melatonin is also available as a supplement, typically as an oral tablet. Most melatonin supplements are made in a lab. (Mayo Clinic)
Continue reading Melatonin

4. Avoid infections

A low white blood cell (WBC) count is one of the more serious side effects of chemotherapy. WBCs are necessary for the body to fight infection, making the risk of infection higher when the WBC count is low. If you have a low white blood cell count you can prevent infections by taking the following measures:

  • Be careful with pets and other animals to avoid catching infections from them.
  • Practice safe eating and drinking habits.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Stay away from people who have symptoms of an infection.
  • Avoid large crowds where you may come in contact with germs, such as shopping malls, church, or public transportation. If need be, go at off peak hours to avoid the crowds.
  • Avoid anyone who is sick (including colds), including other people in your household that are sick.
  • Avoid children or adults who have recently received vaccines.
  • Do not handle animal waste (including cat litter, bird cage waste, fish tank water, chicken coops, etc.)
  • If you have a central catheter (PICC, Port, Hickman), use caution to keep it clean and dry. Check the area for redness or tenderness (soreness) daily.
  • Follow an oral care regimen.
  • Wear sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) to prevent sunburn.
  • Use only electric razors to avoid cuts that can become infected.
  • Use caution to avoid any cuts or injuries. (avoid contact sports, wear gloves for household chores)
  • Do not use rectal suppositories.
  • Do not have dental work without first talking with your healthcare team.
  • Do not get any vaccines without first talking with your healthcare team.
  • Women should not use tampons while neutropenic as these can pose a risk of infection and toxic shock syndrome. Use sanitary napkins instead.
  • Neutropenic patients should not have intercourse, any type of vaginal or anal penetration (including toys/props) or oral sex as these can pose an infection risk. Talk with your healthcare providers if you have specific sexual practices that you are concerned about.

Sources: MedlinePlus and Oncolink

5. Prevent Cachexia

Approximately 50% of all cancer patients suffer from cachexia, a devastating wasting syndrome, and this figure rises up to 80% in patients with advanced disease. The following can help:

  • Melatonin (study)
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids (study)
  • Pomegranite (study)
  • Supplements containing n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (study)
  • High levels of antioxidant vitamins can reverse severe weight loss (study)
    Note: The 3 major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin
    E.
  • Endurance training (study)

6. Restore your immune system

Chemo drugs can damage healthy immune cells… the killing of immune cells can also enhance tumor growth (study)
As well as allowing the tumor to grow, a compromised immune system also allows things like yeast to get out of control. (study)
Yeast killers include Oregano Oil and Pau D’arco
Chemotherapy can also cause severe Vitamin D deficiency (study)
Lactic Acid Bacteria boosts immune response and kills cancer cells (study)
See Immune boosters

7. Reduce nausea

A number of drugs are used to treat nausea, but other, less toxic therapies have also been proven to help patients. These include:
Ginger supplements (study) This is the best treatment according to this study
Cannabis oil (study)
Hypnosis, Acupuncture, and Massage (source)
Accupressure (study)

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