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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Oral chemotherapy (chemo) is a treatment used to shrink a tumor or kill cancer cells. Oral chemo is usually taken in the form of a pill or capsule.
- Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.
- Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your oncologist as directed:
You will need to see your oncologist for ongoing tests and treatment. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Rest as needed: You may feel tired for a few days after taking oral chemo. Return to activities slowly, and do more as you feel stronger.
- Eat healthy foods: Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Several small meals a day may be easier to eat than a few large meals.
- Stay away from people who are sick: This decreases your risk of getting an infection. Ask for more instructions about how to prevent infections.
Contact your oncologist if:
- You have a fever.
- You have nausea, vomiting, or no appetite for several days.
- You are very tired and have no energy for several days.
- You notice sores or white spots in your mouth.
- You have constipation or diarrhea for more than one day.
- You are depressed.
- You feel like your heart is beating very fast.
- You have frequent, painful urination.
- You have a cough that is new or that does not go away.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You have chest pain, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing.
- You feel confused or have a severe headache that does not go away.
- You have arm or leg weakness, trouble walking, or trouble seeing.
- Your pain increases.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, painful, or swells.
- You feel weak, dizzy, or faint.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.