5 tips for dealing with cancer treatment side effects

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 at the age of 38. My treatment consisted of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation over the course of about 11 months — and with it, came many of the same side effects I’d been hearing about for years from other cancer patients. As a radiologist at MD Anderson, I was already familiar with many of these side effects. But until I became a patient myself, I don’t think I fully understood what patients go through. For instance, I knew it was emotionally painful to lose your hair, but for me, it was also physically painful. It actually hurt when my hair was falling out. I didn’t expect that. The most troublesome side effects of breast cancer treatment for me were nausea, hair loss and mild neuropathy, but there were others, too. Here are some tips for dealing with my five worst: Nausea. Eat smaller portions of food and drink fluids more frequently during the day. This helps combat the nausea that often accompanies chemotherapy. And if you’re prescribed a medication for nausea, take it. The one I was prescribed (ondansetron) was effective, but only if I took it regularly and before the nausea actually began. Hair loss. Dr. Jennifer Litton wrote me a prescription for a “cranial prosthesis” (also known as a wig) because insurance companies are often more inclined to cover the cost if it’s presented that way. Sometimes I left my head bare because it was so hot outside. But usually, I just covered it with scarves or hats, some of which I received free at the MD Anderson Beauty...