What are ways to prevent anemia during chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy can cause anemia, a hemoglobin deficiency that can make you feel short of breath, very weak, or tired. To combat anemia, a doctor may:
  • Watch blood levels of hemoglobin
  • Monitor blood levels of iron
  • Check your blood count
  • Prescribe epoetin alfa (Procrit or Epogen) or darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp)
  • Recommend a blood transfusion (minority of cases)
At home, you can try these ways to combat anemia or fatigue:
  • Get plenty of rest. Sleep more at night and take naps during the day if you can.
  • Slow down. Do only the things that are the most important to you.
  • Ask for help. Ask family and friends to pitch in with daily chores.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet, including plenty of calories and protein. If you don't feel like eating, try smaller snacks and juices or a liquid meal replacement. Or try taking a walk before eating or changing your eating location.
  • Take snacks with you and eat when you feel like it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.