Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How Does Chemotherapy Work?

Chemotherapy is designed to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be administered through a vein, injected into a body cavity, or delivered orally in the form of a pill, depending on which drug is used.

Chemotherapy works by destroying cancer cells; unfortunately, it cannot tell the difference between a cancer cell and some healthy cells. So chemotherapy eliminates not only the fast-growing cancer cells but also other fast-growing cells in your body, including, hair and blood cells.

Some cancer cells grow slowly while others grow rapidly. As a result, different types of chemotherapy drugs target the growth patterns of specific types of cancer cells. Each drug has a different way of working and is effective at a specific time in the life cycle of the cell it targets. Your doctor will determine the chemotherapy drug that is right for you.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mouth Care During Chemotherapy

You may have a sore mouth after chemotherapy or radiotherapy and it is important that you maintain good oral hygiene. 

Some tips to prevent mouth problems include:

Clean teeth thoroughly but gently after each meal and before going to bed. If the gums are delicate it is better to use a soft toothbrush (baby/infant).

Brand name antibacterial mouthwashes such as Corsodyl may be used but are quite strong and may damage the fragile lining of your mouth whilst on treatment. Check with nursing staff for further advice. 

Saline mouthwashes are recommended if tolerable; 5 mls salt: 500 mls tepid water; 1 tsp. salt: one pint tepid water.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What causes side effects in Chemo?

Cancer cells tend to grow fast, and chemo drugs kill fast-growing cells. But because these drugs travel throughout the body, they can affect normal, healthy cells that are fast-growing, too. Damage to healthy tissue causes side effects. Although side effects are not always as bad as you might expect, many people worry about this part of their cancer treatment.

The normal cells most likely to be damaged by chemo are blood-forming cells in the bone marrow; hair follicles; and cells in the mouth, digestive tract, and reproductive system. Some chemo drugs can damage cells in the heart, kidneys, bladder, lungs, and nervous system. In some cases, medicines can be given with the chemo to protect the body's normal cells.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How to Handle Appetite Changes During Chemotherapy

Set meal times and routines.

- Set times to eat a little, even if you're not hungry.

- Eat 5 or 6 small meals each day, instead of 3 big meals.

- Keep up your interest in food by trying new foods. Eat with family or friends.

- If food tastes like metal, eat with plastic forks or spoons. Use a glass pot for cooking.

Be active.

- Being active may help you feel more hungry.

- Take a short walk each day.

Drink liquids.

- Try milkshakes or soup. These foods are easy to swallow.

- Getting enough liquids is important, but don't fill up on liquids right before you eat or during meals.

Read the rest of the article here.

Visit the website to see how else you can help boost your immune system while undergoing chemotherapy.