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The goal of treatment
is to kill the cancer cells while minimizing damage to normal cells.
There are three basic
goals of therapy.
o To manage the lymphoma as needed with minimal
o To achieve a durable remission or possible cure
o To relieve symptoms or to address a tumor that is
dangerous or impacting on your quality of life (palliative intent)
best supportive care.
It’s important to understand and agree with the intent
or goal of therapy; the most
appropriate goal depending on many factors, including the type of
lymphoma, its aggressiveness, where it presents, your treatment history,
age, performance and
Treatments may be systemic
- delivering drugs into the blood to reach cancer cells anywhere in the
body, or localized - to treat a specific area of the body.
Almost all treatment
agents are selective to some degree. That is, they are designed to
affect the targeted cells (cancer cells) more than the normal cells. For example, many
chemotherapy drugs affect rapidly dividing cells and will therefore
damage mainly cancer cells, but also some normal cells that divide
The experience of
cancer treatment can vary a lot. Some will experience little discomfort
and be able to continue work and family activities with little
disruption. But sometimes
the experience of treatment requires close monitoring and extensive
following factors can influence the treatment experience and the
Your age and health status
The treatment agents
The unique sensitivities you may have to treatments
How closely you follow doctor’s instructions
How honestly and promptly you report problems
Try to be positive
about the chosen treatment. Sometimes
your anxiety about treatment can disrupt life more than the therapy, and
can make recovery more challenging than it need be.
Learn what you can do
to manage or prevent side effects and complications (the focus of what
follows), so that you will
have the best chance to have a great outcome.
for Getting Through Cancer Treatment
physically active - and continue to exercise within your limits
taking herbs and vitamin supplements without consulting with your oncologist.
Avoid prolonged sun exposure. (A yearly skin check is also
very hot baths to decrease the risk of Hand/Foot Syndrome and infection.
also Hand-Foot Syndrome -
uncooked foods; and thoroughly
wash vegetables and fruits, including the skins - when your blood
cell counts are low.
any side effects and share with your doctor. We don't all react to
the same drugs in the same way and sometimes protocols have to be
changed or modified based on individual reactions.
Drink plenty of water daily to keep tissues hydrated,
reduce constipation, and to help remove toxins from your bladder, liver and
For each cup of coffee, tea, cola drink, or cocoa, take an
extra cup of water. Chocolate also requires extra water.
Avoid alcohol because it's also dehydrating and adds
your doctor about laxatives and stool softeners if needed.
Fighting Constipation below
available small portions of food and drink,
little or no preparation: broth-based soups, canned fruit, crackers,
fruit juice …
Treatment may increase the need for sources of digestible
risks of oral complications:
Avoid sticky, crunchy foods; and foods that are hot,
spicy, or high in acid, like citrus fruits and juices.
To help with swallowing, soften your food with gravy,
sauces, broth, yogurt, or other liquids.
Avoid toothpicks and tobacco products.
When your mouth hurts,
call or fax your doctor or nurse.
Use extra-soft toothbrush after meals and at bedtime.
Soften in warm water.
Use a fluoride toothpaste; avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol.
Gently floss your teeth daily. Avoid areas that are bleeding or sore.
If your blood counts are low check
with doctor or nurse before flossing.
Rinse several times daily with solution of
baking soda and 1/8 teaspoon salt in one cup of warm water.
Follow with a plain water rinse.
Suck on ice cubes to relieve sores - be sure that the
water is pure (boil if from a well).
Discuss with your doctor or dentist about your dentures
that don't fit.
Contact your doctor if it persists or worsens.
Keep hydrated (drink water) and avoid caffeine.
Include fiber in your meals (such as whole grains).
Get regular exercise (such as walking).
Avoid foods that are high in fat, which tend to remain in
the stomach longer than other foods and may contribute to nausea.
Chew slowly, take small bites, sip liquids with meals;
avoid offending foods and odors - breath through your mouth when needed.
Try smaller, more-frequent meals.
Uncontrolled diarrhea can lead to
fluid depletion, electrolyte imbalance, skin damage, and even death
if it persists too long.
The following was adapted from
in Cancer ACS
for diarrhea as prescribed.
- inform your doctor if the meds are not helping
because changing the prescription
can make all the difference.
- keep track of the amount and frequency of bowel
-eating small amounts of foods that are easy to
digest such as rice, bananas, applesauce,
yogurt, mashed potatoes, low-fat cottage cheese,
and dry toast.
clear liquid diet (one that includes water, weak
tea, apple juice, peach or apricot nectar, clear
broth, Popsicles, and gelatin with no solids
added) as soon as diarrhea starts or when you
feel that it’s going to start.
-foods that are high in potassium (such as
bananas, potatoes, apricots, and sports drinks
Potassium is an important mineral that you may
lose if you have diarrhea.
acidic drinks, such as tomato juice, citrus
juices, and fizzy soft drinks.
milk or milk products if they seem to make
greasy foods, bran, raw fruits and vegetables,
pastries, candies, rich desserts, jellies,
preserves, and nuts.
alcohol or use tobacco.
- very hot or
- clean your anal area with a mild soap after
each bowel movement, rinse well with warm water,
and pat dry. Or use baby wipes to clean
- apply a water-repellent ointment, such as A&D
or petroleum jelly, to the anal area.
- sitting in a tub of warm water or a sitz bath
may help reduce anal discomfort.
A randomized trial of yogurt for prevention of
Dig Dis Sci. 2003 Oct;48(10):2077-82. PMID:
14627358 | Related
Reduce your risk of infection while your
blood counts are low:
your doctor about growth factors (Neupogen® and Leukine®)
that may help granulocytes to recover more quickly to reduce
your risk of infection while on treatment.
touching your eyes, nose, mouth,
without first washing your hands
with warm soapy water.
Be aware of
sources of contamination: public places,
foods, cutting boards, plates, dish towels, door knobs,
counter tops, and sponges.
separate cutting boards
for fresh produce and raw meat.
separate dish towels
when handling raw meat; use disposable types.
See also Tips on self-administration of
such as for Neulasta or Neupogen.
Being around kids during treatment?
Relaxation techniques during treatment, such as mediation, prayer,
walking, and dance.
Adequate rest, take naps as needed.