Taking care of yourself during chemotherapy

Taking care of yourself during chemotherapy

Trying to live well and stay as healthy as possible can be hard during cancer treatment. This video has some ideas to help you cope during chemotherapy.

Coping when you're first diagnosed with cancer

Narrator: Most people have good days and bad days during chemotherapy. 

[The narrator appears on the screen. She is walking her dog in a park and looks happy. Then she looks tired and sits down on a bench. The scene ends.]

Narrator: When I had cancer, my healthcare team and I talked about coping with my treatment. Here’s how I got through my days as well as I could. Maybe these ideas can work for you, too. 

[The narrator’s healthcare team appears on screen. The team includes a doctor, a nurse, a dietitian and a social worker. They all look friendly and supportive. The narrator appears on the right of the screen, looking at her healthcare team. The scene ends.]

Narrator: Being active really helped me. I went for walks and practised tai chi – these activities made me feel more energetic and less stressed. 

[A park scene appears. The narrator’s jacket and a water bottle are on a park bench. The narrator is standing next to the bench. Then she does some tai chi movements. She looks happy. The scene ends.]

Narrator: I learned it’s important to eat a variety of healthy foods and stay hydrated. When I didn’t feel like eating and was losing weight, the dietitian on my healthcare team suggested ways to add protein and calories to my diet. This helped me feel better, manage my weight and maintain my strength. 

[The narrator and her dietitian are sitting in chairs facing each other. The narrator is holding a glass of water. The dietitian is taking notes on his clipboard. A variety of healthy foods appear above their heads – cheese, chicken, beans, fruit, vegetables, eggs, seeds and fish. The scene ends.]

Narrator: My doctor said it was fine to take a daily multivitamin but to talk to him before taking anything else that he hadn’t prescribed. Taking other drugs, including vitamins, herbs or supplements, can affect chemotherapy. 

[A red bottle and a green bottle of prescription drugs appear on the left of the screen. Then bottles of vitamins, herbs and supplements appear on the right. They are greyed out to indicate that you should talk to your doctor before taking them. The scene ends.]

Narrator: Being around people worried me – I’d heard that I could easily catch colds and flus during chemotherapy. But staying connected to people who care about you is important. 

[A man appears on the left of the screen. He is holding a tissue and sneezing. The narrator appears next to him, holding out a hand to keep her distance and looking worried. The scene ends.]

Narrator: I always felt better after talking to a friend and sharing a hug. I asked people not to visit me if they had a fever or were sick. 

[The narrator is having tea with a friend. They are both smiling at each other. The scene ends.]

Narrator: We found other ways to keep in touch.

[The narrator, who is holding a cellphone, appears on the left of the screen. Her friend appears on the right. He is holding a computer tablet in one hand and a tissue in the other. There is a black line down the middle of the page to show that they are in different places. Both look happy. The scene ends.]

Narrator: I put myself first during treatment and focused my energy on what was important to me. 

[The narrator is standing in front of an easel. She is wearing a smock and holding a paintbrush. There are pots and tubes of paints next the easel. The narrator is smiling. The scene ends.]

Narrator: I also asked for and accepted the help that I needed from friends and family. 

[A friend of the narrator appears on the right of the screen, and then the narrator appears on the left. Her friend is holding out a casserole and the narrator is reaching for it. They are both smiling. The scene ends.]

Narrator: Sometimes I didn’t want to bother my doctor with questions, but he said it was important to tell him how I was feeling because chemotherapy affects everyone differently. 

[The narrator is talking with her doctor. She is holding a notepad that she has made notes on and there is a question mark in the air between her and her doctor. Both look a bit concerned. Then the narrator holds up her notepad and the question mark disappears. Both the narrator and the doctor look happier. The scene ends.]

Narrator: You can manage the side effects of chemotherapy – and have good days – by talking to your healthcare team and asking questions. 

[The narrator is walking her dog in the park. They both look happy. The scene ends.]

Narrator: The Canadian Cancer Society can also help you. Visit cancer.ca or call 1-888-939-3333.

[The Canadian Cancer Society’s name, logo, phone number and website appear on the screen. The Bank of Montreal (BMO) logo appears at the bottom of the screen as a proud sponsor of the Cancer Basics video series.]