As a function, chemotherapy has positive effects in fighting cancer cells, but it can also cause negative effects on healthy cells. These are side effects. Sometimes, the sequelae are so strong that some patients have difficulty staying in treatment.
The side effects of chemotherapy are different for each person, depending on the type of cancer, its location, the doses of medicines, and the patient’s overall health. Alternative therapies and palliative care can help relieve the most common side effects of chemotherapy.
Palliative care is part of cancer treatment, it involves treating the side effects of chemotherapy. Alternative therapies are non-medical options that complement other medications in managing these side effects.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, doctors recommend physical activity to manage fatigue, one of the most common side effects caused by chemotherapy.
Fatigue as a side effect of chemotherapy is different from that felt by a person who is not undergoing cancer treatment. Cancer patients report feeling exhausted without having made any effort and do not stop feeling this way even if they rest.
Practicing yoga is a form of mild physical activity that is recommended as an alternative or complementary treatment to chemotherapy or other conventional forms of treatment to fight cancer.
Putting the body in motion causes it to release endorphins, which helps improve mood and increase the patient’s energy, thus fighting fatigue.
Other alternative or complementary therapies that are recommended to counteract fatigue, even without scientific evidence to confirm their effectiveness, are contact therapy, massages, and reiki.
Nutrition is especially important for people with cancer who are or will be taking treatment. One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy is loss of appetite. As a result, the patient may suffer from tiredness, fatigue, and malnutrition.
Although there are people who choose to compensate for the lack of nutrients with the use of supplements, there is no evidence that these help treat the side effects of chemotherapy.
Therefore, a balanced diet, rich in vitamins and nutrients, and without excess fats and sugars, is the best option to counteract these side effects. This type of alternative therapy not only helps combat the side effects of chemotherapy, but also helps patients have more energy to keep going.
Lastly, among the most common side effects in cancer patients are oral problems after chemotherapy. The best way to control mouth ulcers is to prevent them.
Health experts suggest:
· Sucking on ice chips before and during each chemotherapy treatment to prevent mucositis .
· Use mouthwash with lidocaine.
· Visit an oncological dentist before radiation therapy treatment to the head or neck.
· If mouth ulcers are severe, use a mouth swab instead of a toothbrush.
· Rinse your mouth with a solution of half a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of baking soda, and water.
· Choose foods that require little chewing, and avoid acidic spiced, or very salty foods.
It is important to emphasize that none of the alternatives mentioned above replace oncological treatment. However, these will help the patient feel better during chemotherapy.
A positive attitude and support from family, friends, and health professionals make a big difference during cancer treatment and patient recovery.
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