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51

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer, Version 1.2017

6

Coping with side effects

How do I prevent or take care of my side effects?

††

Steer clear of caffeine and alcohol at the

end of the day

, both of which can make it

more difficult to fall—and stay—asleep.

Make use of your team

Your treatment team has a wealth of experience and

information. This is particularly true if you are being

treated at a center that has an AYA cancer program.

The program should have lots of resources to help

you deal with the physical, emotional, and day-to-day

challenges of cancer treatment.

Many cancer centers also have complementary or

i

ntegrative medicine programs that offer acupuncture,

hypnotherapy, reflexology, yoga, and other types of

complementary therapy that can prevent or help you

cope with side effects.

Your team will want to watch for the side effects you

have, how severe they are, and how they affect your

overall health and well-being. You may be asked to

keep a diary tracking your side effects and things like

your temperature or blood pressure. Be honest about

what you’re feeling—this isn’t the time to put on a

brave face or keep quiet about what is going on. If the

side effects are too much or if they put you at risk for

long-term problems, the team may consider changing

your treatment plan or parts of it.

When dealing with treatment side effects, don’t be

afraid to reach out to the unofficial members of your

team—family and friends who want to lend a hand.

If someone wants to pick up your groceries (or your

homework, or your kids) when you’re tired and its

hard to do much of anything, let them. If someone

wants to make you a batch of homemade chicken

soup or ginger cookies, let them. If someone wants to

give you a lift to yoga class, let them. After all, you'd

do the same if they needed help.

When I was diagnosed I thought

the hardest part of cancer would

be the actual having cancer part.

Chemo and all its lovely side effects:

the needles and constant invasion

of my body, and losing my hair.

What I didn’t realize is that the

fight against cancer doesn’t end

when your scans are clear, your

port is removed, your hair grows

back, and your scars heal. The fight

against cancer rages on within.

The emotional and mental wounds

needed to heal as well. You just

have to find your new normal and

not punish yourself if it is different

from before.”

- Ashley

Hodgkin Lymphoma Survivor

Age at diagnosis: 20