Receiving a medical diagnosis such as cancer can be scary, overwhelming, and often confusing. Learning about the condition and the medications used to treat it can help make it more manageable.
Cancer is not just one disease. There are many different types and forms of cancer, and it can start in any place in the body. In all types of cancer, cells begin to divide uncontrollably and start crowding out normal, healthy cells. When the healthy cells become crowded by cancer cells, it can become difficult for them to work the way they should. This can make it challenging to carry on with every day activities.
Fortunately, cancer can be treatable for many people. There are a variety of treatment options available, many specifically made for certain types of cancer. You may hear these medications called “chemotherapy,” “targeted drugs,” or “biologics.” Chemotherapy is often used to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells, or to help keep tumors from returning. Targeted drugs and biologics work on the genes within certain cancer cells, stopping them from working correctly and continuing to multiply. Historically, most cancer drugs were given through an IV, but now, many newer cancer drugs are pills or capsules that can be taken by mouth. This allows patients to take the medication in the comfort of their own home. Like many medications, there are a variety of side effects that can occur from taking anti-cancer drugs. Nutrition plays a key role in managing the side effects of both cancer medications and the cancer itself. This area is designed to help patients nutritionally manage the most common side effects of anti-cancer drugs.
Anti-cancer drugs, as well as cancer itself, can cause a wide variety of issues leading to nutritional concerns. To better understand cancer, common side effects, and how nutrition is affected, see the table below for more details.
Side Effects Overview
Cancer drugs work in a variety of different ways, with the main goal being to slow or stop the growth of unhealthy cancer cells. However, these drugs can also affect healthy cells, causing a variety of side effects. Some of the most common side effects include mouth sores, nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, lactose intolerance, and diarrhea and constipation. Depending on the drug being used, length of treatment, and the type of cancer, side effects can vary from person to person. Understanding the side effects can help you take charge of your health. Refer to the chart below to review other side effects related to cancer treatments. It’s always best to discuss current side effects and new changes that develop with your health care provider.
To learn more about side effects from cancer medications, see the table below.
To manage your side effects, download our Side Effects Tracker below:
Understanding Your Medications
Getting a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. Along with nutrition, taking your prescribed medications as directed is an important part of a successful treatment plan. The Meijer Specialty Pharmacy care team is here for you every step of the way. Our pharmacists are available 24/7 to answer questions and to help you get the most out of your medication.
With cancer, there are many different treatment options available, and many are specifically made for certain types of cancer. You may hear these medications called “chemotherapy”, “targeted drugs”, or “biologics”.
is often used to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells to help keep tumors from returning.
Targeted Drugs & Biologics
work on the genes within certain cancer cells, stopping them from working correctly and continuing to multiply.
To learn more about your specific cancer medications, visit the National Cancer Institute