Consultant Surgical Oncologist & HIPEC Specialist


Chemotherapy-one of the most common cancer therapies-uses potent drugs to kill the fast-growing cells in your body. It’s normal to feel nervous or depressed when you find out you are going to get chemotherapy. When you are not sure what to expect, the already overwhelming situations become even more daunting.

Preparing for what’s to come is a simple way to feel more relaxed. Being trained helps you regain control and 

remove some of the fear of chemotherapy that occurs. Here are some ways you can plan to help you feel calmer and more confident before your first chemo appointment

What to Expect When Having Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy Is an Individual Experience

Every person experiences chemotherapy differently, physically as well as emotionally. Each person experiences side effects differently from chemotherapy, and chemotherapy drugs cause different side effects. Thankfully, as cancer treatment technology has progressed, so has the science of treating side effects of treatment.


Chemotherapy affects people in different ways. Some have very few side effects, while others have more. Side effects have nothing to do with how well the treatment is working.

Dr Vimalathithan , Oncologist in Tamilnadu says Your well-being is very important to us. There is a delicate balance between the benefits of chemotherapy and the harm of possible side effects. Please tell your doctor if you feel that the harm outweighs the benefit.

Always tell your health care provider about any side effects that occur during chemotherapy, including

  • extreme fatigue
  • bleeding
  • numbness and tingling in limbs (neuropathy)
  • difficulty breathing,
  • eating or drinking problems
  • problems with urination or bowel movements
  • memory loss and inability to focus
  • pain, infection, and fever.


  1. Drink lots of water: On the day before, water prepares your body for the dehydrating effects of treatment. On the day after, it helps to flush the chemo meds out of your system.
  2. Eat a light meal: A healthy, balanced meal before treatment will boost your stamina and energy levels. Since chemotherapy sometimes causes nausea, it helps to keep the meal light.


  • Sometimes chemotherapy results in nausea and/or loss of appetite. Be sure to eat a full, balanced meal before treatments.
  • Stay hydrated before, during and after treatments. Try fruit-infused water or sports drinks if plain water is distasteful. Some chemo treatments can cause constipation, so eat foods rich in fiber or ask your care team if a stool softener is right for you.
  • Get a good night’s sleep: Make sure to get enough rest before treatment. Chemotherapy causes fatigue, so a well-rested body will respond better to treatment.
  • Establish a support network:  One of the first things we tell patients: Set up a network among family and friends who are able to help out and give you emotional support during your treatment. “Whether it’s someone to sit with you during chemo or do small chores around your house, you’ll have peace of mind with someone you trust taking care of things,”
  • Avoid the risk of infection: Your body has enough to handle without dealing with an infection from an outside source. Your immune system is decreased during chemo. So it’s best to avoid crowds. Keep your hands clean with sanitizer.
  • Wear comfortable clothesWear layers and loose-fitting clothes that are easy to work with if you need to go to the bathroom
  • Sexual Activity and Pregnancy

Do not have sexual activity for 48 hours after receiving chemotherapy because the chemotherapy includes body fluids. It is very important not to get pregnant when undergoing chemotherapy, you or your wife do. You should use 2 forms of birth control to avoid pregnancy while using this drug and for a total of 6 months after the end of your procedure. This important for both men and women alike.

  • Buy a wig before treatment startsHair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy. If you plan to wear a wig, start your wig search before treatment begins to match your current hairstyle, cut and color.]
  • Relax Your Mind. Your appointment time could be an opportunity to reduce stress. You could practice meditation or relaxation techniques, or even take a nap during your treatment.