diet and alterative treatments when under going chemo

Hi everyone.
I’ve just had a mastectomy. I thought that would be it, had their pound ( or two ) of flesh but no, the cancer is in the lymph nods and now I need chemo which will start in a week or so and then radiotherapy after that.
Does anyone have any tips on what to eat or anything that might make this time a little easier?
I,M REALLY SCARED :frowning:
48years old ( just ), married for 25yrs and we have 3 wonderful children that I call my little pebbles, as my husband is my rock.
I am blessed with a wonderful family and marvellous friends who have been so supportive through this sad, worrying time.
I was diagnosed on 24/07/07, had my op on the 30th, then hit again with these s**t test results.
What a year!
Any other advice will be gratefully accepted.
Love Julie59

Hi Julie

Sorry you had to become part of this group … but everyone here is amazing and will help you through these tough times. Am sorry about your results too, but try not to be too scared. I was diagnosed in July with bc and then told had gone to my liver, so started my chemo last week and it was ok. I was absolutely terrified about it, but have to say, it was not as bad as i thought (although rather have been doing something else), and to date I have not had any side effects, but know that when get more into it, this will/may change. I am 39 and have 2 little ones under the age of 4. They will help you through this I am sure, as when I look at my 2, I know that I am going to beat this and see them grow up, and they keep me smiling and actually the baby shows me no mercy, as has me up and down like a yoyo, as crawling and standing everywhere!!

Just take each day as it comes and listen to your body to rest. Not much advice really as I am a newbie, but am sure you will receive so many posts helping you through this that are more helpful.

Take care of yourself

Ginger is good when undergoing chemo - ginger toffees, ginger biscuits, ginger tea. If you get to the stage I was at on chemo where I couldn’t drink anything (I was unusual!) hot water with mint leaves in it goes down a treat!! Otherwise eat healthily. I was diagnosed in February, double mastectomy in march with lymph gland involvement, chemo started april (one to go!) and then radiotherapy. It is all perfectly doable - even if some days are more doable than others!!! Let your body tell you what to do. Good luck and a hug!


Basically the important factor is good handling of treatment is good nutrition. This is a helpful account:

When going through chemo, it is important to make sure that your onc. team know about everything that you are doing, even if it is only taking a multi-vitamin tablet. The essential factor is making sure that you maintain body weight and that you are getting the most from your food that you can. Do some research on the net - there is a mass of interesting information in the bc sites about how to cope with chemo. There is also a neat little book “Coping with Chemotherapy” by Terry Priestman which is worth reading.

There is an interesting thread in this forum about a [rather pricey] honey that seems to alleviate chemo effects:

I took to using astragalus as an immune system booster and have never regretted it.

If it works, it is worth every penny it costs!.

Hi Julie,

I am so sorry you’ve had to join us but ‘welcome’ to this awesome site. If its tips you want then you’ve come to the right place!!! Prepare to be bombarded! I was diagnosed in March, age 34. I had a right mastectomy and total axillary clearance a week after diagnosis. I too had lymph nodes involved and I started my chemo (E-CMF) in may. I’m 2/3 of the way through now, woohooo, and have picked up loads of tips along the way so here goes (apologies if you have heard some of these already!):

  1. Invest in a digital thermometer, you can get them from boots for under a tenner. The ones that can go under the tongue are the best as apparently they give the most accurate reading. If you feel poorly on chemo you’re supposed to keep a close eye on your temp you see.
  2. An ultra-soft bristle toothbrush is ideal, as you don’t want your gums to bleed with heavy handed brushing with an electric toothbrush. Colgate do one for adults.
  3. A babys brush is useful as your head starts to get sore when your hair is about to fall out. I have a ‘Denman’ one, its a bit pricey but you get what you pay for I guess, and its soooo soft.
  4. An alcohol free mouthwash such as ‘Dentyl’ should be used after brushing and each meal. It should prevent the chemo from making your mouth sore.
  5. Travel bands, about £7 from Boots, are a lifesaver!!! If you feel a little nauseous and do not fancy ‘popping pills’ then do invest in these. You can wear them day and night as needed and I have found them to be awesome.
  6. Ginger - biscuits/ale/crystalized/fresh… is great for nausea.
  7. I always have Luczoade in the house too, for my first few days post chemo to boost my energy a bit.
  8. High fibre cereals and home-made fruit smoothies are a great way to start the day while you are on the steroids (Dexamethasone). Dex can cause constipation but I’ve never ever suffered with this because I always start the day with ‘all bran’ and a smoothie when I’m takin these. By the way, be sure to take your second dose no later than 2pm as they can cause insomnia!!
  9. Check out a great american site called It does everything from head scarves to eyebrows and lashes! Their ‘terry towelling sleep cap’ is a must have!!! The delivery is v.quick and cheap.

I hope you find some of that useful, and apologies if I’ve totally bombarded you! Chemo is tough, physically and mentally but is defo very doable!!

Take care,


Hi again Julie,
I’d second the comments about travel bands and ginger. I’ve also found that tangy citrus flavours have helped with the nausea.
And … I seem to have gone off the taste of sugar, which can only be a good thing!

Dear Julie59

I am sorry to hear of your recent diagnosis. Welcome you to the Forums where I am sure you will continue to receive lots of helpful advice and support from our users.

Below is a link to a Breast Cancer Care publication Resources Pack which can be ordered on line, it is filled with information to help you better understand your diagnosis, test results and the various treatments available:

If you have further queries or any concerns at all, you are very welcome to contact our freephone confidential helpline to speak to one of our team of specialist nurses on 0808 800 6000 which is open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-2pm.

I do hope you find this information useful.

Kind Regards

Breast Cancer Care

Hi Julie,

So sorry that you’ve had to join our club but welcome!
Definitely go with all of the above-great advice! Also, i’ve found drinking hot water with lemon juice in helps with the yacky taste you might get in your mouth, Manuka honey is great to help ward off any nasty mouth ulcers and sore throat and is good for upset tummy too-good all rounder well woth the money. I found that i craved salty food as well so lived on salted microwave popcorn for a few weeks-everything else tasted either like petrol or sour milk!! My best tip is my body lotion that i’ve used throughout as this thing causes havoc with your skin-Palmer’s Olive Butter Formula with Vit E, got mine from Tescos so you should be able to get it, for my facial moisturiser i used Eucerin Lipo-Balance from Boots-fabulous stuff, and if you use foundation then i recommend you switch to an anti-ageing one like L’Oreal Age Re-perfect. I’m only 39 and i think this is for the over-50’s but it has made all the difference. People tell I look like i’ve been to a health spa my skin is so radiant-wouldn’t call the chemo-unit that but i take the compliment haha!!!
Wishing you all the luck in the world, hope it flies by for you as mine has for me,

Tracy xx

Thanks Tracy some great tips for the body, we all still like to look good no matter where we are.
The honey thing sounds good, will give it a go.

Love and positive thoughts to you from me XXX

Hi All

If you have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer or are undergoing treatment, you may find of interest our Healthy Living Days, they give you the opportunity to try a range of different therapies and strategies that can be used to improve your general health and well-being. A Healthy Living Day includes a number of workshops on exercise, relaxation and complementary therapies.

On each day you will find a selection of the following activities:

tai chi
diet and nutrition

see the link for a list of the courses and events in your area

Kind Regards
Breast Cancer Care

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