Nausea and vomiting are possible side effects of chemotherapy cancer treatment. These used to be among the most frequent and difficult side effects to manage. However, we now have powerful medicines (anti-emetics) to prevent and control this effect. It has resulted in great improvements in how patients feel and handle their chemotherapy treatments. We will work with you closely to ensure that nausea and vomiting are minimized, and in most cases, completely prevented.

Each cancer drug is different. Some drugs cause no nausea at all, while others can cause significant nausea and vomiting. Your physician will prescribe “pre-medications” to help reduce the chance and severity of nausea and vomiting. At each visit, your chemotherapy nurse will assess how you are feeling so that we can modify the anti-emetic drugs and the amounts of the drugs you receive. Our goal is to minimize or completely prevent these effects from ever occurring.

Additionally, there are some simple suggestions to help minimize the risk of nausea and vomiting. Always remember to talk with your oncology nurse about how you are feeling and for additional suggestions.

Ways to Manage Nausea and Vomiting

  • Try eating bland foods, sour candy, dry crackers, ginger ale, or flat soda.
  • Eat small, frequent meals (five or six), instead of three large meals each day.
  • Do not eat fatty or fried foods, very spicy foods, or very sweet foods.
  • If possible, have somebody else make the meals when you are nauseated.
  • Do not eat your favorite foods when you are nauseated.
  • Eat foods that are at room temperature or cold. The smells of hot foods may make your nausea worse.
  • Keep your mouth clean; brush at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush.
  • Consider shakes or liquid nutritional supplements to help maintain your nutrition.
  • Please let us know if nausea and vomiting interferes with your ability to eat and maintain a healthy weight. It may be helpful for you to meet with a nutritionist. We can help facilitate this appointment.