Breast cancer treatment has come a long way in recent years. The rate of recovery has increased dramatically, and there are also more treatment options than ever before. What people don't always talk about, however, is the side effects these treatments cause. Side effects are not a reason not to undergo breast cancer treatment. They're just an unfortunate consequence of these life-saving treatments, and luckily, there are ways to manage the side effects. Take a look.
Nausea is a really common side effect among women who undergo chemotherapy. It tends to be worse after the first few sessions, and then taper off. Some good ways to manage it include acupuncture, which helps you relax, and wearing tight bands around your wrist — much like you'd wear for car sickness or seasickness. Eating smaller meals of bland foods can help, as can sleeping with your head more elevated.
Back pain is a consequence of many chemotherapy drugs, and it can also result from radiation treatments. Massage is a great way to manage it; just make sure your massage therapist knows you're undergoing breast cancer treatment so they can be gentle. Chiropractic adjustments are also excellent for managing back pain. Ask your chiropractor to show you stretches and exercises you can do at home when you're uncomfortable.
Coughing is pretty common with hormone-based breast cancer treatments, and it can happen to some radiation patients as well. If you cough up blood, you should definitely seek medical care ASAP. However, standard coughing after treatment can be managed at home. Take steamy showers to help moisten your respiratory tract, and drink plenty of water or warm tea. Avoid potential allergens like pollen and secondhand smoke; these can be more irritating and cause more intense coughing when you're in treatment for breast cancer.
Hot flashes occur in many women who undergo hormone-based treatments. Often, the feeling of being overly warm is accompanied by a rapid heartbeat and even some dizziness. To help ease hot flashes, run your wrists under cold water. Dress in layers so you can easily take one off when you are warm. Eating less fat can help some women decrease the frequency and severity of the flashes.
If you experience any side effects not included on this list, be sure to reach out to your doctor. They can help you find ways of managing those side effects throughout treatment.