Chemotherapy is a common treatment for breast cancer patients with aggressive forms of the disease. It’s not usually used on patients with stage 0, or DCIS, since the cancer is still very confined, but it is almost always used for breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes or beyond. Your doctor will decide whether or not chemo is a viable option based on your cancer’s type and aggressiveness, your genetic history, your age, if the cancer has recurred, and other factors. Your treatment plan may include chemo, radiation, hormonal therapy, surgery, or a combination of the four.
The prospect of undergoing chemotherapy can cause a lot of additional anxiety for cancer patients because of its wide range of side effects: hair loss, nausea, mouth sores, changes in taste, exhaustion, and more. It’s certainly no picnic, but side effects vary from person to person, and can be mild or nonexistent. Be sure to talk to your doctor throughout the treatment process about the effects the treatment is having on you, so treatment can be reassessed if necessary.
Because of side effects, patients may be concerned about what their daily lives will look like during chemo treatments. In the video below, Dr. David Margileth says fatigue is the biggest variable; it can occur throughout the entire treatment, or only around the days the treatments occur. Some women experience no fatigue at all.
Regardless, he encourages people going through chemo to combat fatigue by… exercising?
Sound counter-intuitive? Watch the video to learn more!
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.