NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer, Version 1.2017
How do I prevent or take care of
my side effects?
Taking good care of yourself is the first and most
important thing you can do to get ready for treatment.
The healthier you are before and during treatment,
the easier it will be to recover from unwanted side
effects. So if you’re already fairly active and a fan
of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods, you’ll
want to continue those healthy habits.
Feed yourself well
Keeping yourself well-fed can help keep up your
energy so you can bounce back when treatment is
done. If your treatment team doesn’t already include
a nutritionist or dietitian, ask for one. Then set up a
meeting to work out a diet plan that includes your
unique needs. Make a plan that fits:
Your lifestyle that can include work, school, or
other daily needs.
Your living situation and if you need help
cooking or food shopping.
Your personal taste or liking for certain kinds
of food and drinks.
The types of side effects you’re likely to have.
Nutritional counseling is important because it’s likely
everyone is going to have an opinion about what you
should eat. But when it comes to cancer, the usual
nutritional advice may not apply. If you’ re dealing
with nausea, mouth sores, or feel tired it’s good to
keep up your energy and a healthy weight. This
may mean eating lots of rich, high-calorie items and
staying away from foods that are not good for you
right now. So listen to your body, your doctors, and
your dietitian or nutritionist and do what works for
Your body is mostly made of water, and it needs a
steady supply to function at its best. Getting enough
fluids (staying hydrated) is even more important
during cancer treatment. Side effects such as
vomiting and diarrhea leave your body in need of
fluids. Drinking plenty of fluids will also help prevent
constipation (difficulty going to the bathroom),
protect your bladder and kidneys from the damage
of systemic therapy, and help flush out the chemical
waste from your treatment.
Your treatment team can guide you on exactly how
much fluids you should be drinking every day. The
general rule is to get at least 64 ounces (2 liters) of
noncaffeinated liquids every day. It is best to stick
with noncaffeinated liquids but
a little caffeine is okay. Keep
in mind that it has dehydrating
Keeping a water bottle with you
at all times will make it easier to
track how much you’re drinking
during the day. Fluids can also
come from other things listed
Ice pops or sherbets
Soups or broths
Caffeine-free herbal teas
Caffeine-free sodas (like
Coping with side effects
How do I prevent or take care of my side effects?