It probably won't surprise you if your oncologist suggests treating your lung cancer with chemotherapy. After all, it's a popular form of lung cancer treatment, and it can be used to treat patients with small cell and non small cell lung cancer. Unfortunately, nausea and vomiting are common side effects of many drugs used during chemotherapy treatments, and some patients find coping with these side effects difficult. While your oncologist can prescribe an anti-nausea medication as a preventative measure, there are also numerous things you can do at home to make it easier to deal with any chemo-related vomiting and nausea that you experience.
Eat Small, Simple Meals
For people undergoing chemotherapy treatments, eating can be challenging, because the drugs used during treatment often make them feel nauseous or induce bouts of vomiting. While these symptoms make eating difficult for all chemo patients, those battling lung cancer may have increased difficulty eating due to difficulty swallowing or having a very tender throat. In addition to avoiding food that is difficult for your body to digest, such as foods that are greasy or high in fat, and acidic foods, such as citrus fruits or spaghetti sauce, you should try to avoid food that has a rough texture or sharp edges, such as crackers, fresh fruit, and fresh veggies. Instead, opt for a diet that's filled with semi-soft or soft foods such as mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, and thickened soups. You should also try to eat small amounts of food frequently instead of consuming two or three large meals each day. This way, you don't become overly hungry. If you allow yourself to become famished, you're likely to feel nauseated. Be sure to discuss your diet with your oncologist to ensure you're getting enough nutrients if you can't handle a diet that includes solid food. Your oncologist may suggest consuming a meal replacement shake several times per day to ensure you're getting the vitamins and minerals that your body needs without feeling overly nauseous, experiencing bouts of vomiting, or irritating your throat.
Shortness of breath is something that lung cancer patients have to cope with frequently, so staying properly hydrated is extremely important. Drinking a lot of fluids to keep your body hydrated can help thin the mucus in your body, which makes coughing bouts a lot easier. However, if you're struggling with chemo-related vomiting, staying hydrated might not be easy. Try sipping your drinks through a straw, slowly, to keep them down. Also, if you tend to vomit after you've eaten, avoid drinking fluids while you eat. Instead, give your body time to digest your food before consuming fluids. If you're having trouble swallowing thin liquids, try to drink something thicker such as a glass of milk or a milkshake.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils to help improve your quality of life. For chemo patients, inhaling essential oils or using them directly on your body during a massage can help combat bouts of chemo-related nausea. There are numerous essential oils available, but different oils are used for different ailments. Peppermint and ginger are both good options for battling nausea. However, you should consider incorporating tea tree oil and lavender into your regime as well. Both are used to help people relax, and relaxing your body can help you battle a bout of vomiting.
Remember, you should always check with your oncologist before trying an aromatherapy treatment to make sure the essential oils you use won't interfere with your chemotherapy treatment. For example, inhaling peppermint essential oils can increase the rate that the chemo drug 5FU is absorbed by your body, which may not be ideal. Your oncologist may also recommend specific guidelines for you to adhere to when using aromatherapy treatments, such as suggesting you avoid aromatherapy treatments for a specific number of days before or after your chemo treatment. If you have tumors in your lungs that make breathing difficult, your oncologist may recommend you avoid aromatherapy treatments completely, or at least avoid inhaling essential oils during treatment.
Dealing with the side effects of your lung cancer treatment may not be pleasant, but you can get through it. Don't allow chemo-related vomiting or nausea to discourage you. If you're having trouble coping with it, talk to your oncologist to alter your prevention plan until you find a routine that works for you.