June 21, 2023

wife and daughter hugging husband with cancer

Learn how you can help a loved one experiencing the side effects caused by cancer treatment.

If a loved one is battling cancer, they could be experiencing a host of difficult side effects caused by cancer treatment, and you will want to do what you can to help alleviate these symptoms. While just being there with them to offer comfort and companionship is in itself very helpful, there are further steps you can take.

What Can You Do to Help Lessen the Side Effects Caused by Cancer Treatment?

Following are some of the most prevalent difficulties that arise from the side effects caused by cancer treatment, with actions you can take to help.

  1. Hair Loss: You can encourage the person to explore wig options prior to beginning treatment (to best match their natural hair color to the wig), if they are concerned about hair loss. Hair loss can also be minimized by using baby shampoo (and washing hair less frequently), and using a soft hairbrush.
  2. Stomach Upset: Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy, but can be alleviated with anti-nausea medications, staying away from greasy or spicy foods, and eating smaller meals more often throughout the day. You can help by preparing light, nourishing meals that are more tolerable for the person.
  3. Skin Problems: A person with cancer is at an increased risk for a number of treatment- and disease-related skin concerns. You can assist by encouraging the person to use sunscreen, helping to protect the impacted areas of skin from bumps, bruises, or other trauma, and making sure the skin is always clean and dry.
  4. Depression: If you detect signs of depression in the person, communicate your concern right away with their doctor, who can evaluate medications being taken for depressive side effects and decide on the best course of action to take to help.

One of the best ways to assist the person is by simply being there. Create space for the person to be open about their fears, concerns, and feelings, and respond in a caring, thoughtful way. Sometimes a simple hug or holding the person’s hands can be extremely comforting. Be prepared for the person to talk about their cancer if desired, and always be ready to lend an open and nonjudgmental ear.

Find more cancer care tips from Continuum’s experts in home care assistance in St. Louis, Kirkwood, Clayton, and the surrounding areas, and learn how our in-home care services can make life more comfortable for someone with cancer. Contact us online or at 314-863-9912 any time for more information.