Frequently Asked Questions About Cancer Treatment

Often people have the same questions about cancer treatment. We've address some of them here.

Will I be at risk for infection?

During treatment, the chemotherapy and radiation will attack the bad cells but it does also affect the good cells, so your ability to fight off infection will be reduced. We encourage chemotherapy patients to avoid people who are sick and use good hand washing and hygiene practices.

Will I have nausea and vomiting?

This will depend on the type of treatment you are receiving for cancer. There are many medications that can be administered with chemotherapy and after treatment to help with the nausea and vomiting. Ask your physician what type of preventative medication you will be receiving.

Will I lose my hair with chemotherapy?

Only certain chemotherapy will cause you to lose your hair. Your physician will talk with you about the side effects of your prescribed chemotherapy. We do have many donated wigs and hats available free of charge if you find that your chemotherapy will cause hair loss.

What resources are available to me?

We have Clinical Nurse Specialists who will answer any questions you have. We have an oncology library that has many journals, handouts and a computer with validated websites for cancer research. We also have links to the American Cancer Society and Leukemia and Lymphoma society.

Will I experience fatigue?

Many patients will experience some fatigue when going through treatment. Patients are encouraged to participate in their normal daily activities as much as possible to keep their strength. We offer a Rehabilitation and Fatigue Management program that can help you maintain your activity level or rebuild your strength after treatment.

Will I experience pain?

Some patients experience pain prior to treatment, during treatment or after treatment. Many times the pain will become better once treatment has begun. There are many options to help with pain. Your physician can talk with you about pain medications and other treatments to help control pain.

Will I experience mouth sores and difficulty eating?

Some patients experience sores in their mouths due to their treatment plan. There are medications your physician can prescribe to help heal the sores. Patients need to employ good oral care before, during and after treatment to prevent mouth pain. We encourage patients to brush regularly after every meal and at bedtime. Many patients are instructed to rinse their mouths with normal saline prior to therapy to help prevent issues.

What if I have a positive mammogram?

We have a breast care nurse navigator who will contact you after you have received the results of the test. The nurse navigator will help you schedule follow up appointments, provide you with education about any additional testing and help guide you through the health care system.

Will I gain weight with chemotherapy?

It depends on the chemotherapy that you are taking. Patients taking treatment for breast cancer tend to have this issue. We have a dietitian on staff who can help you with food choices. She will review your current chemotherapy and help you plan meals that will keep you from gaining weight. We also have a new eight-week program for breast cancer patients through the Survivorship Center that will teach you how to prevent weight gain.

Can I be around my kids or grandkids?

We would encourage patients to avoid children with infections or colds because you will be more susceptible to infections during your treatment. If you go out in public during treatment you might chose to wear a mask to keep from inhaling common cold germs. Good hand washing and hygiene techniques help prevent infections during treatment.

Will I have problems sleeping?

This will depend on your type of treatment. It would be encouraged to ask this question when talking about your treatment protocol. There are medications that can be given to assist you with getting a good night's rest. Patients should make a point to rest when feeling fatigued to keep up strength.

What can I eat?

This will depend on your treatment plan. This should be discussed with your physician and a dietitian if warranted.

Will I be able to work?

Patient are encouraged to continue working and participating in normal daily activities as much as possible. It is important to keep connected to your support system and to keep your strength and sense of normalcy.

Contact Us

Radiation Oncology

Inpatient Cancer Unit, 5th Floor Hospital

Genetic Liaison

Cancer Rehab and Wellness Center

Outpatient Cancer Center, 5th Floor Hospital