You may need a colostomy after surgery for rectal cancer, says Joseph Thornton, MD, a colorectal surgeon at Sunrise Hospital. In this video, he says the location of the cancer in the rectum affects this decision.
1 AnswerColon cancer is first treated surgically, while rectal cancer treatment often begins with chemotherapy and radiation, says Joseph Thornton, MD, a colorectal surgeon at Sunrise Hospital. In this video, he says that abdominal location plays a role.
1 AnswerInternal radiation therapy (brachytherapy) is used to treat cancer. With internal radiation therapy, a radiologist places radioactive material inside the body. These “seeds” give off radiation to destroy nearby cancer cells. The seeds may be placed inside the body with needles, catheters or minor surgeries. Some of the seeds are permanent, and some are temporary. The permanent seeds stop giving off radiation over time. They do no damage by remaining in the body.
1 AnswerDrink alcohol in moderation, if at all, if you're being treated for cancer. Alcohol may contribute to dehydration, can lower the abilities of your immune system to fight infection and provides no beneficial nutrients.
1 AnswerTalk to your healthcare team before taking any vitamins or supplements. Some medications and cancer treatments may interact with vitamins and supplements. Choose food first as the main source for nutrients.
1 AnswerThe “8 X 8 rule” is a good place to start. Aim to drink 8, 8-ounce glasses (for a total of 64 ounces) of caffeine-free fluid a day. Drinks that contain caffeine contribute to fluid loss. Here are some ways to make sure you stay properly hydrated:
- Drink fluids throughout the day instead of waiting to drink when you feel thirsty.
- Keep a glass, cup or bottle of water in sight at all times. It is much more likely that you will drink fluids when they are within reach.
- Keep track of the fluids you drink to make sure you are getting enough.
- decaf coffee
- decaf tea
- fruit or vegetable juice
- decaf soda
- sports drinks
- liquid nutrition supplements
- hot chocolate
- soup and broth
- ice cream
- fruit ice
1 AnswerDuring cancer treatment, it is very important that you stay hydrated. Water is needed for regulating your temperature and for removing wastes and toxins. The human body is made up of about 60% water. Every organ is dependent upon water for optimal functioning.
Dehydration occurs when your output of fluid exceeds fluid intake. Infections, high fever, bleeding or even something as simple as not drinking enough fluids can lead to dehydration.
Side effects of cancer treatment such as vomiting or diarrhea can lead to dehydration. If you have severe vomiting and can't keep fluids down try sucking on ice cubes and ice chips and taking frequent, small sips of fluids. This will be better tolerated than drinking large amounts at one time. If you are vomiting for 24 hours or more, contact your healthcare provider.
1 AnswerThe following are some simple tips to reduce exposure to and avoid unnecessary infection and/or illness during the time your immune system is compromised due to cancer treatment:
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly, especially before and after handling food. Be sure to wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Pay special attention to your finger nails, and don't forget to wash the backs of your hands.
- Keep raw and cooked foods separate. Do not reuse any utensils, cutting boards, plates, dishes, etc. once they have been touched by raw meat or eggs. Utensils, cutting boards, plates, dishes, etc. that have been used for preparing raw meats or eggs should be washed in hot, soapy water. It is best to keep a separate cutting board for meat and fruits/vegetables. Have an extra clean cutting board available for additional preparation as well.
- When shopping for and storing raw meats, keep them away from other foods and cover the packages with extra plastic wrap or use plastic bags. This will prevent any liquids from leaking onto other foods or surfaces. Store meats and eggs toward the bottom of the refrigerator to prevent any dripping on other foods below.
- Avoid eating raw food such as sushi, undercooked eggs (i.e. "sunny side up") and other foods that have not been cooked to a proper internal temperature. Cook all eggs until both the white and the yolk are firm. Use a meat thermometer to make sure that all meats are cooked to the proper internal temperature prior to eating.
1 AnswerThe immune system is weakened during all types of cancer treatment. Unfortunately, chemotherapy medications do not differentiate between healthy cells and cancer cells. For this reason, perfectly healthy red and white blood cells are damaged or killed during treatment and shortly thereafter. The result of this is that the body is not as good at fighting illness and infection.