This is the seventh and last part of our series about the condition based on our patient booklet “Fast Facts for Patient and Supporters: Cholangiocarcinoma”. This article shows how the treatment side effects of cholangiocarcinoma can be reduced.

Most treatments have side effects that can affect how you feel. Side effects are problems usually caused by the effect of your treatment on healthy cells. While most people experience at least one side effect from a treatment, the majority of people do not have a high number of side effects from any given treatment.

Side effects can last anywhere from a few minutes while receiving treatment to effects that persist long after the treatment is completed. Your doctor may have various options to address your side effects, so talk with him or her and your treatment team when you develop or experience a side effect. Some things you can do on your own to help reduce the common ones are described below.

Loss of Appetite

  • Eat small meals frequently and snack when you are hungry
  • Eat foods that are high in calories and protein
  • Keep your favorite foods easily accessible for snacking
  • Ask for help with preparing meals or buy prepared meals
  • Drink fluids between meals, rather than with meals, so you do not feel full too quickly

Loss of appetite

Nausea/Vomiting

  • Use nausea medications if prescribed by your oncologist
  • Eat small meals
  • Try to avoid smells during cooking

Diarrhea

  • Use prescribed or over the counter medications
  • Try to eat bland food
  • Drink plenty of water and electrolyte solutions (from a chemist)

Constipation

  • Stool softeners or stimulant laxatives may help
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Walk or do some exercise

Fatigue

  • Walk or exercise regularly
  • Plan your day so you have time to rest
  • Take short naps or breaks rather than having one long rest
  • Do one activity at a time or do easier/shorter versions
  • Eat well and drink plenty of fluids

Appetite or Taste Changes

  • Vary meals
  • Use plastic utensils and glass cookware to lessen metallic tastes
  • Use herbs, spices, sugar, lemon, marinades or sauces to flavor foods
  • Try gum or hard candies/sweets with mint, lemon or orange flavors to lessen metallic or bitter tastes
  • See a nutritionist or dietician
  • Use appetite stimulants if prescribed by your oncologist

Neuropathy

  • Talk to your doctor if you experience numbness, tingling, cold sensitivity, pain when walking or using your hands, or trouble picking things up or balancing
  • Be careful when using sharp objects or hot objects/water
  • Discuss whether pain medication or other medications would be useful to help manage symptoms

Mouth Sores

  • See your dentist regularly to keep your mouth as healthy as possible while on treatment
  • Keep your mouth moist by using mouth rinses as recommended by your treatment team
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day
  • Inform your doctor if you notice sores on your tongue, gums or the insides of your cheeks

Hand−Foot Syndrome

(skin on palms and soles is red, peeling, cracking and dry)

  • Moisturize your hands and feet regularly
  • Use urea-based creams at least twice a day on your hands and feet
  • Cool the hands and feet with ice packs, cool running water or a cool wet towel for 15–20 minutes at a time (avoid direct contact with ice)
  • Limit the exposure of hands and feet to hot water or harsh chemicals
  • Avoid sources of friction, rubbing or prolonged pressure to your palms or soles

Treating hand-foot syndrome

 

Please check out the other posts of our series here:

 

Information based on Fast Facts for Patients and their Supporters: Cholangiocarcinoma (Karger, 2021).

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