What Are Some Of The Things I Should Do To Make Sure I Take Care Of Myself During Chemotherapy Treatment?

Anna Ferrari M.D., B.S., NYU Langone Medical Center

March 16, 2009 -- b>Question: What are some of the things I should do to make sure I take care of myself during chemotherapy treatment?

Answer: It's also important that you maintain as much activity as you can. And we encourage men to keep their physical activity at the maximum they can and they feel they can tolerate. Surprisingly chemotherapy many times does not make you feel extremely weak so that you feel like lying around all the time. It may happen for maybe three of four days or sometimes up to one week after the chemotherapy, but by and large most people recover their normal activity and certainly I encourage walking and weight-bearing exercises to maintain muscle trophism. If you -- I always say this -- and stay in bed the least possible, only to sleep. Other than that the bed is not your best friend. Your best friend is activity. And the more you move around, the more awake and alert you will be, and you feel healthier and tolerate chemotherapy and hormone therapy better.

With regards to nutrition, is another aspect you can really contribute to your overall tolerance of chemotherapy and health. That is, maintain a healthy diet. Well that, everybody wants to be on a healthy diet, and what does that mean, there are several versions of them. Well in terms, and I'm not going to tell you which diet is, avoid certainly excessive amounts of food, very spicy food, very fatty food. And if for some reason, the chemotherapy causes more nausea than you expect to have, just go into a rhythm where you can take small amounts of food on repeatedly times over the day, and don't be concerned -- over concerned -- with the amount of calories you're eating. Generally appetite if it is decreased in the initial first days of therapy, it will be gained back soon after.

So most men do not lose excessive amounts of weight over any of the treatments, certainly chemotherapy. Regiments that we use today are first line. And in fact men on hormone therapy tend to gain weight, so that's why it's important you maintain a healthy diet, taking to account all of these measures, staying away from high amounts of carbohydrates and sweets, and for that I would suggest that you consult with a nutritionist that will give you more specific guidelines to what you should do.