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Adverse effects. The majority of side effects associated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy usually disappear at the end of the treatment. These symptoms are treated with medicines as and when they appear: nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, skin irritations on the hands and feet.
Give up smoking. If you smoke, it is very important that you quit as it aggravates the side effects associated with the treatments, such as loss of appetite and decreased lung capacity.
Alcohol. As with smoking, you should not consume large amounts of alcohol, although drinking is not prohibited.
Diet. There is no scientific evidence to suggest you should avoid eating proteins or sugars if you have cancer. No particular food is contraindicated, except on rare occasions due to interactions with certain drugs. Eat whatever you want but in small amounts and several times a day. It is important to maintain your muscular body mass and avoid losing too much weight.
Fármacos. La quimioterapia puede interaccionar con otros tratamientos, por lo que se debe informar al equipo de salud. Hay que prestar especial atención en aquellos pacientes que toman digoxina (medicamento para el tratamiento de enfermedades cardiacas), ya que puede interferir en la absorción de otros medicamentos. Los anticoagulantes orales (medicamentos para el tratamiento de enfermedades cardiacas) pueden incrementar la toxicidad o disminuir la eficacia de los medicamentos que se eliminan. Los antivirales (medicamentos para el tratamiento de la infección por el VIH) pueden interaccionar con algunos de los medicamentos de quimioterapia. También se han observado interacciones con los antiepilépticos.
Complementary therapies. They are not contraindicated; however, you should always discuss them with your doctor beforehand.
Physical activity. Unless your doctor says otherwise, you should try to follow your normal routine and take part in physical exercise if possible. It will help minimise treatment-related side effects and accelerate recovery. Practising physical activity tends to produce a greater feeling of well-being. Ask your doctor about the most appropriate level of activity for you. Similarly, physiotherapy is very important after surgery and whenever patients suffer a loss of muscular mass in their legs.
Sexual intercourse. As long as you generally feel well enough, then you can still practice sex. It is important for women of childbearing age to take contraceptive measures, as you should not get pregnant during treatment.
Emotional support. There are different patient and family support groups that provide advice and support from people who have endured a similar situation. Ask staff at your health centre about this type of organisation.
Julio Delgado GonzálezHematologistHematology Department
Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 20 February 2018
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