Side-effects

Are you having trouble with side-effects?

Many people don’t realise that there is a large psychological component involved in the experience of chemotherapy side-effects. Negative expectations, anxiety, our beliefs and background stress levels can all contribute to what might otherwise be a tolerable experience. Or even an empowering one.

And it’s hard to avoid the horror stories, isn’t it. We’re set up for the expectation of a difficult experience from the outset. Just like childbirth we rarely hear a good chemo story.

But as my oncologist said, no side-effects are compulsory…

Hi Belinda
Just thought I would drop you a quick email.  I went to the Look Good, Feel Better program yesterday, it was great. What I do realise however is how easily I have been doing chemo after talking to others. When I had my second dose of chemo I slept from 2.30 in the afternoon and got up the next day feeling great. Unfortunately my husband had come home with the flu a couple of days before and shared it with my daughter and myself. By Thursday evening both of us were crook. Ended up in hospital for a night due to fevers but my bloods were fine, showed I had an infection but otherwise I only had to have oral antibiotics and am now fine again. Have my last dose of FEC next Wednesday. Last weekend I took my daughter to a 2 day clinic with the horse and even went out to dinner on Saturday night with them all and yesterday was out all day. I think I had more energy than her. So all in all I just wanted to say thank you. What you do obviously makes a huge difference, thanks for helping me.
N Winters, Bungendore

While chemotherapy is certainly physical, it doesn’t have to be debilitating. And it can be comforting to know there are so many things you can do to help make the experience of chemotherapy easier.

If you would like help in reducing the side-effects of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, please contact me for an appointment.

And if you can’t make it to Canberra, I’d be happy to help you by phone. Please contact me to arrange for a telephone consultation.

Belinda tabogganing just one week after her 6th cycle of chemotherapy.

References

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 2. Whitford HS, Olver IN. When Expectations Predict Experience: The Influence of Psychological Factors on Chemotherapy Toxicities. J Pain Symptom Manage 2012;43:1036e1050.

3. Roscoe JA, Bushunow P, Morrow GR, Hickok JT, Kuebler PJ, Jacobs A, Banerjee TK. Patient Expectations Is a Strong Predictor of Severe Nausea after Chemotherapy. Cancer 2004;101:2701–8.

4. Colloca L, Miller FG. The nocebo effect and its relevance for clinical practice. Psychosom Med 2011 September;73(7):598–603.

5. Faasse K, Petrie KJ. The nocebo effect: patient expectations and medication side effects. Postgrad Med J 2013;0:1–7.

6. Morrow GR, Hickok JT, DuBeshter B, Lipshultz SE. Changes in clinical measures of autonomic nervous system function related to cancer chemotherapy-induced nausea. J Auton Nerv Syst. 1999 Oct 8;78(1):57-63.

9. Zachariae R, Paulsen K, Mehlsen M, Jensen AB, Johansson A, von der Maase H. Chemotherapy-induced nausea, vomiting, and fatigue–the role of individual differences related to sensory perception and autonomic reactivity. Psychother Psychosom. 2007;76(6):376-84.

10. Olver I, Taylor A, Whitford H. Relationships between patients’ pretreatment expectations and post chemotherapy experiences. Psychooncology 2005;14:25-33.