Preparing for cancer treatment

Soon after you are diagnosed with cancer, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you. It is very easy to become overwhelmed during this time—you may feel like you’ve lost control of your body. One way to feel more in control is to take an active approach to preparing for treatment.

Learn all you can

The best weapon against worry is understanding. That’s why we have a complete library of cancer information resources right here on the Salem Health website.

Ask questions

Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor any question. If something is troubling you, it is worth discussing.

Salem Health Cancer Institute has a team of support people to help you navigate your care as well.

Before appointments, you may find it useful to write down your questions so you won't forget what you want to ask. Take notes or ask whether you may use a voice recorder. You may also want to ask a family member or friend to join you.

Anticipate side effects

You won't know exactly what side effects you’ll have until treatment begins, but common ones include fatigue, hair loss, nausea, fever and infection.

Plan ahead with your doctor and family members so you will all be prepared. You may need loved ones to take over household chores and responsibilities for a while. The good news is that most side effects can be controlled and will go away after treatment ends.

Eat right

Normally, a healthy diet includes eating lots of fruits and vegetables and limiting fat and sugar. However, nutrition recommendations for people being treated for cancer are different, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

To strengthen your body, you may need to increase calories and protein in your diet. Our dietitian can advise you on ways to avoid unpleasant side effects of treatment, such as nausea and constipation.

Talk to your employer

Whether you can work during cancer treatment will depend on your health status and how you feel. Find out if your company offers flexible work hours or a reduced schedule. Even though you won’t know how you will feel until treatment starts, it doesn’t hurt to have a conversation about it ahead of time.

Salem Health patient guide

Need-to-know information in English, Spanish and Russian.
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