What to Avoid During Chemo for a Healthier Recovery
Updated: Mar 28
The benefits of chemotherapy are incredible, without question, and can save someone’s life. Yet during the process of destroying harmful cancer cells, noncancerous cells can be in the crossfire, leading to challenging side effects. The doctor will offer instructions on what cancer patients need to do to reduce these effects, but it’s just as important to know what not to do while undergoing chemo treatment.
Avoid These Chemo Don’ts
Strenuous work and exercise: This includes both physically and mentally taxing tasks that could worsen stress, fatigue, nausea, and mood swings.
Smoking: Smoking can lead to hypoxia (a lack of oxygen) in cancer tumors and other parts of the body, which can impact the efficacy of chemo and worsen side effects.
Infections: Because the immune system is compromised during chemotherapy, it’s a good idea to stay away from people who are sick.
Alcohol: Alcohol can worsen the negative side effects of chemo, even in very small amounts.
Vitamins: A 2019 research study pointed to evidence of a decrease in chemo’s effectiveness and a substantial reduction in the desired outcome by those who were taking certain vitamins (including B12, A, and C).
UV light: Limit exposure to sunlight and stay away from tanning beds, which can have a far more severe impact on the skin in someone receiving chemotherapy.
Probiotics: Probiotics contain beneficial yeast and bacteria, but skip them during chemo because of the body’s weakened immune system.
Additionally there are a number of types of foods to steer clear of during chemo treatment, such as:
Grapefruits and grapefruit juice
Seville oranges and their juice
Spicy and acidic foods and condiments
Raw or soft-cooked eggs
Blue and other moldy cheeses
Foods from bulk bins
Fresh salsa and salad dressing
Raw fish and shellfish
Hard, sharp foods such as potato chips, crackers, cookies, and granola
What SHOULD You Do During Chemo?
While you need to avoid the above items during chemo, the following action items can be helpful during chemotherapy:
Lessen fatigue by arranging for transportation to and from chemo appointments and designating both the day of and the day after chemo as days of rest
Decrease the threat of infection by washing hands frequently, avoiding large crowds, and getting flu and COVID-19 vaccinations (if approved by the physician)
Mitigate appetite problems by eating smaller, more frequent meals (including sufficient amounts of protein), drinking at least 8 – 12 cups of water a day, and staying as physically active as possible to help increase appetite
Protect the skin from dryness and sensitivity through the use of gentle soap and moisturizing the skin often, wearing sunscreen, and selecting loose-fitting clothes and a hat when outdoors
Keep in mind that support is very important during cancer treatment. Build a solid network of family and friends and include a professional caregiver to make sure all needs – emotional, physical, and spiritual – will be met throughout this challenging time.
Cancer care can be complicated. Let The Care Company’s highly trained and experienced care professionals help. Reach out to us at (416) 422-2273 for a complimentary in-home consultation today.