Four Things You Should Know About Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

As you prepare for breast cancer chemotherapy, one of the most important things to know is that every patient’s experience is different. While it’s a good idea to educate yourself so that you’ll have a general idea of what to expect, you shouldn’t worry if you have a response — either physical or emotional — that differs from what you may have heard or read.

How to prepare

With that in mind, here are four practical tips that you may not have thought of, but that can be useful before and during chemotherapy for breast cancer:

  1. Request a temporary handicapped parking permit for your vehicle. Some days will be better than others, but you may experience side effects such as fatigue and nausea that make it difficult for you to walk even short distances. The use of designated handicap parking spaces can provide you with easier and safer mobility while allowing you to maintain independence in your daily life.
  2. Schedule a dental check-up and teeth cleaning before you begin breast cancer treatment. Your mouth naturally contains bacteria, which can enter your bloodstream during dental procedures. Because chemotherapy will weaken your immune system, you may become more susceptible to infections caused by these bacteria, so it’s best to have your dental work completed beforehand.
  3. Download your favorite music, as well as some good reading material and movies you want to catch up on, onto a laptop or tablet. Bring it with you to your breast cancer treatment sessions along with a comfortable pair of headphones to help you pass the time.
  4. Plan ahead to ensure proper nutrition. Chemotherapy can affect your appetite, and you may find the idea of eating to be unappealing during your treatment. Stock up on nonperishable foods that you like, cook and freeze some nutritious meals for future use and start eating healthy now to establish a pattern that you can follow for as long as possible.

Even after your chemotherapy plan for breast cancer has been established and you’ve discussed it at length with your oncologist, you may still have some lingering questions. Of course, your treatment team will be available to you throughout the entire process.

If you’d like to discuss breast cancer chemotherapy with an oncologist in the Don and Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. We do not require referrals.