Keeping Nausea at Bay

Edward Rosario preps fruit for a smoothie fortified with protein powder which he can tolerate to combat nausea.

Nausea is a common side effect of cancer – especially for people going through chemotherapy. When non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patient Edward Rosario came to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, his nausea was overwhelming.

Although it can be difficult to find relief, there are several ways to combat an unsettled stomach. Rosario’s relief came when the Cancer Center’s Symptom Management and Supportive Care Clinic prescribed him medicine to help treat the symptom.

Emily Mackler, Pharm.D., a pharmacist in the clinic, says there are different medications to treat nausea. A queasy stomach may be caused by neurotransmitters within the brain, and medications can be prescribed to target these. Other medications target receptors lining the gastrointestinal tract that can contribute to nausea. In some cases, more than one medication may be used to provide the best control. “We also look at the medicines a person is already taking to see if those are contributing to the nausea,” Mackler says. “If so, we’ll look at modifying the patient’s medical regimen by changing how they take their medicine or perhaps by switching to a different drug so they can feel some relief.”

Medicine is one way to combat nausea, but staying away from certain foods and rethinking portion size and meal timing can also make a difference in relieving nausea or keeping it under control. Continue reading

A helping hand: Taking control of eating with tube-feeding

By Nancy Burke, R.D., Joan Daniels, R.D., and Danielle Karsies, R.D., M.S.
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center Dietitians

Illustration shows placement of feeding tubesThink of any celebration, and the first thing that probably comes to mind is food. The aroma, taste and texture of food give us pleasure and satisfaction — but cancer and its treatment can temporarily interfere with our ability to enjoy it.

Some people with cancer may experience loss of appetite or taste. Others may not be able to eat because of a blockage or pain when swallowing. No one wants to give up eating, but when it becomes more of a hindrance or a burden, a feeding tube may offer relief. In fact, we’ve found that many people who opt for tube-feeding say that they wished they had done so sooner, as they feel better overall, more energetic and less burdened by not having to force themselves to eat.

Read the rest of this story in the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s patient publication, Thrive.