Nausea is a problem that cancer patients face. Nausea almost always goes away once treatment ends.
What it is?
Nausea occurs when you feel queasy or sick to your stomach. It may be followed by vomiting (throwing up), but not always. Nausea can keep you from getting the food and nutrients you need. Not everyone gets nausea and those who do may get it right after a treatment or up to 3 days later. Nausea almost always goes away once treatment ends.
Why it happens?
Nausea can be a side effect of surgery, chemotherapy, biological therapy, and radiation therapy to the abdomen, small intestine, colon, or brain. It can also be caused by certain types of cancer or other illnesses.
Ways to manage with food
Be sure to tell your doctor or nurse if antinausea medicine does not help.
Other ways to manage
1. Talk with your doctor about medicine to prevent nausea (antiemetics or antinausea medicines). Be sure to tell your doctor or nurse if the medicines are not helping. If one medicine does not work well, your doctor may prescribe another. You may need to take them 1 hour before each treatment and for a few days after. The type of cancer treatment you get and how you react to it affects how long you need to take these medicines.
Acupuncture may also help. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you want to try it.
2. Talk with a dietitian about ways to get enough to eat even if you have nausea.
3. Relax before each cancer treatment. You may feel better if you try deep breathing, meditation, or prayer. Many people relax with quiet activities such as reading or listening to music.
4. Rest after meals. But do so sitting up, not lying down.
5. Wear clothes that are comfortable and loose.Keep a record of when you feel nausea and why. Show this to your nurse, doctor, or dietitian. He or she might suggest ways to change your diet.
6. Avoid strong food and drink smells. These include foods that are being cooked, coffee, fish, onions, and garlic. Ask a friend or family member to cook for you to help avoid cooking smells.
7. Open a window or turn on a fan if your living area feels stuffy. Fresh air can help relieve nausea. Be sure not to eat in rooms that are too warm or stuffy.
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