During treatment for any stage of lung cancer, there are remedial steps you can take at home to manage certain symptoms and side effects. While you are taking remedial measures make sure to follow the doctor’s instructions.
Treatment for dry mouth – rinsing
Radiation therapy can lead to dry mouth from exposure of salivary glands to radiation. The salivary glands lubricate the mouth with moisture or spit. Post therapy, the salivary glands will resume functioning but rarely in the same fashion. Dry mouth caused by radiation can be a lifelong problem.
To treat dry mouth, you can try some of these measures:
• Rinse mouth with water frequently - every 2 hours or so while awake. You can add salt or baking soda to water
• Use saliva substitute which is commercially available
• Apply lip moisturizer regularly
• Suck on hard candies with lower to negligible sugar content
• Use cool mist room humidifier at night in the bedroom
Treatment for nausea or vomiting or diarrhoea – IV fluids
The underlying cause for dehydration post cancer treatment is nausea / vomiting / diarrhoea. So treating dehydration means first treating the nausea / vomiting / diarrhoea.
This is usually treated by administering intravenous (IV) fluids, depending on the degree of dehydration.
Treatment for diarrhoea – water and diet
Diarrhoea is a symptom rather than a disease in patients recovering from cancer treatment. Some measures to treat the problem include:
• Drink plenty of clear fluids
• Eat small amounts of soft bland low fibre foods frequently
• Avoid foods such as:
o Strong spices
o Whole grains breads and cereals, nuts and popcorn
o Greasy, fatty, or fried foods
o Raw vegetables or fruits
o Gas forming foods & beverages (beans, cabbage, carbonated beverages)
o Lactose-containing products, supplements, or alcohol
o Limit foods and beverages with caffeine and beverages extremely hot or cold
Treatment for constipation - exercises, intake of fluids
Constipation or abnormally delayed or infrequent passage of stools is among the side effects of chemotherapy. Some ways to treat the condition include:
• Eating foods high in fiber like fruits, cereals, and vegetables
• Drink two to three liters of non-alcoholic fluids daily, preferably water or juices
• Exercise regularly most days of the week, as advised by the doctor