Chemotherapy: What to Expect
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Lung cancer treatment can be stressful. Knowing what to expect from chemotherapy can help ease that stress
Speaker 1: When facing lung cancer your doctor might recommend chemotherapy. Knowing what to expect can help ease some of the anxiety that comes with cancer treatment. Every person's journey is different so be sure to speak with your doctor if you have any questions. Before starting chemo your doctor will tell you what chemo will be like and put together a personalized treatment plan. Chemo is often administered in cycles, giving you time off between sessions to recover. Ask your doctor for guidelines on what to eat or drink before treatment and for medications to ease potential side effects. You might also want to consider visiting a dentist to prepare for possible side effects involving your mouth and gums, arranging transportation to and from chemo, getting help with errands, taking time off work and finding out what is offered in your treatment room so you know what you need to bring to keep you comfortable.
During chemo, chemo drugs are given orally or intravenously. For oral chemo, simply pick up your medication from the pharmacy. For more information talk to your doctor or pharmacist. For intravenous chemo an IV will be inserted into your arm. You may choose to have a port inserted ahead of time to eliminate the need to find a vein each session. On treatment day your doctor will likely perform a physical to calculate your chemo dosage and ensure you are healthy enough for treatment. Remember to bring activities to help pass the time while you are receiving your chemo. After chemo the IV catheter will be removed and your vitals checked. If you have a port it will stay in for the rest of your sessions. Talk to your doctor about any side effects you are experiencing. Your care team may be able to provide medications or therapies that can help ease your side effects.
If possible, avoid crowds or children to help prevent infection. Drink fluids to help flush the drugs through your body. Carefully dispose of your waste. Double-flush the toilet to prevent others from being exposed to chemo agents. Every person's recovery time and experience is different but focusing on ones well-being is important for every person going through treatment. That includes getting the supportive care you need to help you with your recovery, leaning on others for support so you can rest, and keeping in touch with your doctor throughout the process. Knowledge is power. By being proactive during your treatment you put the power in your own hands.
The American Lung Association is solely responsible for content.
Approved by Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed November 18, 2017.