Feb 19, 2015 10:00 AM

Author: Cancer Learning Center

Cancer treatment can cause unpleasant side effects, including nausea and vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. Following some simple steps can help minimize these side effects.

Take medication as directed.Even when you feel well, take your medication as directed. If you experience digestive problems, talk with your doctor to make sure you are taking the medications on the right schedule, with or without food. Your doctor can also advise you about foods that may interfere with your medicine.

Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated may help relieve constipation and replace fluids lost through diarrhea or vomiting. Fruit or vegetable juices, coffee, and tea can ease constipation. When you are experiencing nausea, sipping liquids slowly may be easier than drinking a full glass.

Avoid foods that can cause problems. Some dairy products, as well as greasy, spicy, and fried foods, may make diarrhea and nausea worse.

Eat foods that help ease side effects. Bran and whole grains, dried or fresh fruits, and cooked or raw vegetables help relieve constipation. Broiled or baked chicken, warm cereals, white rice, or toast can help ease nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Bananas, gelatin, sherbet, and yogurt are also easy on the stomach.

Talk to your treatment team. Express your concerns about side effects with your treatment team. Often your doctor can prescribe medications to help. A dietitian can help you plan meals that will reduce digestive side effects. You may also benefit from therapies such as acupuncture.

The Cancer Learning Center’s health educators can suggest questions you may want to ask or provide a list of questions to help guide you. Call 1-888-424-2100 or e-mail cancerinfo@hci.utah.edu.

Cancer Learning Center

Huntsman Cancer Institute

side effects

Sign Up for Weekly Health Updates

Get weekly emails of the latest news from HealthFeed.