What to Avoid During Chemo

Learn what to avoid during chemo in order to reduce side-effects.

The benefits of chemotherapy are irrefutable and can save someone’s life. However, during the process of destroying harmful cancer cells, noncancerous cells can be in the crossfire, creating challenging side effects. The physician will offer instructions on what cancer patients need to do to reduce these effects, but it is just as important to know what to avoid during chemo treatment.

What’s Our Advice on What to Avoid During Chemo Treatment?

  • Vitamins: A 2019 study pointed to evidence of a decrease in chemo’s effectiveness and a significant reduction in the desired outcome by those who were taking certain vitamins (including B12, A, and C).
  • Alcohol: Alcohol can exacerbate the negative side effects of chemo, even in very small amounts.
  • Strenuous work and exercise: This can include both physically and mentally taxing tasks, that may exacerbate stress, fatigue, nausea, and mood swings.
  • Smoking: Smoking can lead to hypoxia (a lack of oxygen) in cancer tumors and other areas of the body, that could impact the efficacy of chemo and worsen side effects.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics contain beneficial yeast and bacteria, but skip them during chemo due to the body’s compromised immune system.
  • UV light: Limit exposure to sunlight and stay away from tanning beds, which can have a more severe effect on the skin in someone receiving chemotherapy.
  • Infections: Because the immune system is compromised during chemotherapy, it is very important to stay away from those who are sick.

There are also quite a few types of foods to stay away from during chemo treatment, for example:

  • Raw fish and shellfish
  • Foods from bulk bins
  • Raw honey
  • Blue as well as other moldy cheeses
  • Grapefruits and grapefruit juice
  • Raw nuts
  • Fresh salsa and salad dressing
  • Spicy and acidic foods and condiments
  • Soft-cooked or raw eggs
  • Hard, sharp foods such as potato chips, crackers, cookies, and granola
  • Seville oranges and their juice

Chemo To-Dos

While avoiding the items above, the following action items can be beneficial during chemotherapy:

  • Reduce the threat of infection by washing hands frequently, avoiding large crowds, and getting flu and COVID-19 vaccinations (if approved by the doctor)
  • Protect the skin from sensitivity and dryness by using gentle soap and moisturizing the skin often, wearing sunscreen, and selecting loose-fitting clothes and a hat when outdoors
  • Mitigate appetite problems by eating smaller, more frequent meals (including lots of protein), drinking at least 8 – 12 cups of water per day, and staying as physically active as possible to help increase appetite
  • Lessen fatigue by arranging for transportation to and from chemo appointments and designating both the day of and also the day after chemo as a day of rest

Bear in mind that support is extremely important during cancer treatment. Build a strong network of friends and family and include a professional caregiver to make certain all needs – physical, emotional, and spiritual – will be met throughout this challenging time.

Cancer care can be complicated. Let Golden Harmony’s highly trained and experienced care professionals help. Contact us online or call 919-426-7522 for a complimentary in-home consultation today to learn more about our award-winning home care services in Raleigh and surrounding Triangle communities.