Chemotherapy is one of the most widely used treatments for cancer. Coupled with its brilliant anticancer efficacy, the side effects of chemotherapy has become a huge concern for cancer patients. A lack of scientific knowledge about chemotherapy will render people to refuse this treatment, which may delay the treatment and affect the therapeutic effect.
There are three common myths surrounding chemotherapy.
Myth: My body will become sicker through chemotherapy and I’ll die faster
This is one of the biggest myths. As early as the 1980s, doctors conducted thousands of clinical studies to investigate that chemotherapy and nutrition support, which treatment can bring more benefits to cancer patients. They finally concluded that a combination of chemotherapy and nutrition support can prolong cancer patients’ survival and quality of life.
Of course, chemotherapeutic drugs have serious side effects. While killing tumor cells, they can also damage normal cells and cause great pain to patients. If chemotherapy is not used properly, it may aggravate cancer conditions.
However, experienced oncologists can prescribe chemotherapy drugs to help cancer patients reduce the side effects. Before chemotherapy, the doctor will ask the patient to do multiple tests to assess whether the patient’s physical condition is suitable for chemotherapy treatment and determine the dosages of chemotherapy drugs.
Myth: I must eat as much possible during chemotherapy to enhance immunities
It is true that cancer patients need to improve immunity by supplementing nutrients during chemotherapy but eating too much would go too far. Chemotherapy can bring damages to the digestive tracts, causing nausea and vomiting as a self-protection from outcomers. The gastrointestinal tracts need a rest to recover and consuming too much food would increase their burden.
In addition, cancer patients should have a diet in the right manner:
- eat little and often
- chew slowly
- dry food for last
Myth: I must exercise as much as possible during chemotherapy to enhance physical capacity
Exercise is helpful for cancer patients to boost physical immunities, enhance mental health, and relieve the side effects of chemotherapy. The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia stated that exercise should be part of standard care in treating all cancer patients.
Despite the many benefits from exercise, cancer patients shall not be over eager to work out which might only bring damages to their already weak body.
The immune system is in the weakest state after chemotherapy and needs more time to recover. Excessive workouts will take away physical strength from can patients who will become more vulnerable to possible infections and viruses such as influenzas.
Cancer patients should consult their health professionals about a long-term exercise plan outlining exercise type and intensity, based on their personal conditions. Short moderate-intensity exercise is desirable for cancer patients who are receiving chemotherapy.