Q&A: Can Chemo Affect A Person Mentally?

Can Chemo Affect A Person MentallyQ: My wife was recently diagnosed with cancer and started on chemotherapy. Since diagnosis and starting her treatment, her personality has changed. Can chemo affect a person mentally?

A: Chemotherapy can affect a person’s mood, as can other medications such as steroids and pain medications. It is important that you and your wife inform her doctor of changes in her mood to rule out any medical causes. The change in her personality may also be a sign that she is still struggling emotionally with her diagnosis and treatment. Cancer can be overwhelming and bring up many feelings from anxiety to anger to sadness, proper counseling and sometimes anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications are needed to maintain emotional well-being.

Q: Can I maintain intimacy with my partner while on chemotherapy?

A: It is best to discuss any concerns about chemotherapy and sex with your doctor, who’s familiar with your individual situation. In general, however, it’s usually okay to have sex while undergoing chemotherapy. Caution should be exercised as your immune system is weaker, therefore ability to fight normal genital tract bacteria is lower, and low platelet count can predispose to bleeding. Pregnancy is strongly discouraged during chemotherapy, due to the potential teratogenicity effects on fetus. If conception is possible, you need to choose a reliable method of birth control.

Q: Are there certain foods or drinks I should be sure to include in my diet as a result of my cancer or the treatments I am receiving?

A: In order to maintain the best possible health, cancer patients need to be encourage eat a healthy balanced diet. You may find that cancer or cancer treatment has affected your sense of taste and appetite. Some practical tips include choose high calorie and protein foods, eat frequent small meals per day, pack snacks on hand all the time. Mouth care is also important to maintain a good diet, especially during chemotherapy. Constipation can be caused by certain chemotherapy and pain medications, make sure you are moving your bowel at least once a day.

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