Not surprisingly, many people being treated for cancer agree there’s no place like home. After all, home offers the comfort of familiar surroundings as well as the nearness of family members or friends. If you are undergoing cancer treatment at home, several strategies will help your care proceed smoothly.
Before you begin cancer treatment, ask your physician for important information about:
- Your medication. For each drug your doctor prescribes, ask these questions: What is it for? When should you take it? How long should you take it? Is there any special way you should take it (for example, with food or plenty of water)? What are the side effects and what can you do to control them? For instance, if a pill may cause nausea, your doctor can tell you if it’s best to take it before or after meals.
If you have trouble remembering your medication, set an alarm clock, create a medication calendar or devise some other method to make sure you don’t skip any doses.
- Emergencies. Ask your doctor for a list of emergency symptoms and keep a list of emergency numbers near the telephone, including a number where your doctor can be reached when his or her office is closed.
- Administering treatments. You may arrange for a home-care nurse to come regularly to give treatments such as intravenous (IV) medication and monitor your condition. If you plan to self-administer or have a family member perform any other tests or treatments, such as subcutaneous (under the skin) medication therapy, ask the nurse to show you exactly how this is done.