Planning for Your Treatment
By improving your baseline health before cancer treatment, you could decrease
the chance of having difficult or severe post-treatment side effects like
muscle weakness, pain, fatigue, appetite changes and emotional stress
Some suggestions to order to prepare yourself for cancer treatment are to:
Build strength — Increasing your fitness level prior to cancer surgery or treatment
may reduce the length of time you need to recover and minimize complications.
Improve your diet — Nutrition plays an important role in recovery. Do your best to
increase intake of healthy proteins (lean meats, fish, nuts and legumes),
fruits and vegetables, and reduce the amount of sugar, fat and salt in
Manage stress — Explore stress management skills that work for you. This will
help you cope with anxiety during surgery and/or treatment and recovery.
Techniques such as deep breathing, guided imagery, gentle yoga and tai
chi all may help.
Stop smoking — Smoking can put you at a higher risk for many surgical and treatment
complications, such as infections, wound healing and cardiovascular health.
In the days leading up to your treatment, consider getting some extra rest
and seeking emotional support. When your treatment plan is determined,
be sure to talk to your patient navigator about specific things you can
do to make the appointments easier on your body. For instance, if you
have radiation therapy, you may benefit from minimizing time in the sun
and using lotions your healthcare team approves to treat your skin.
Your particular treatment plan will depend on the type of cancer you have,
its location, its growth or stage of development, and your
Most cancer treatments don’t require overnight hospital stays, so
both you and your caregiver should prepare for:
- Driving to and from appointments
- Having something to entertain you, like a book or your phone, during the
appointment if your type of treatment allows
- Water and health team-approved snacks
- Travel-sized pillow to rest
- Extra sweater or blanket in case you get chilly
Your main caregiver may be your spouse, partner, parent, adult child, close
friend, co-worker, or neighbor – someone who is reliable and can
offer physical and emotional support. They often serve as home health
aides and companions and may help feed, dress, and bathe you at times.
Cancer Basics class is designed to answer questions that you and your caregiver will have
at the beginning of this journey, and to provide you with information
about what to expect. It’s an ideal setting to ask experts any questions
you may have. We hold these sessions several times a month and encourage
patients, family members and caregivers to attend.