How chemotherapy may affect your everyday life

Effects on everyday life

Many different areas of your life can be affected by cancer and its treatment. You might find you go through many different emotions. You might also find you need to take a break from work, and need support with your finances.

Even though chemotherapy treatment can cause unpleasant side effects, some people still manage to lead an almost normal life during treatment. But this depends on the type of chemotherapy you’re having.

Even if you feel unwell after a cycle of chemotherapy, you may recover quickly. You may have time to do the things you usually do before your next cycle. Also if you have symptoms caused by the cancer, your chemotherapy may make you feel better by relieving them.

Some people are able to go to work with time off and shorter working hours.

Social life

Depending on how you feel, there’s no reason to stop going out or visiting friends if you plan ahead.

If you’re going out for the evening, try to rest during the day so you have more energy at night. If you’re going out for a meal, take anti-sickness tablets, if you need to, before you go.

If you have an important social event coming up, ask your cancer doctor if your treatment date can be changed so that you feel as well as possible for the occasion.

My daily walks around the millpond give me a reason to get out of the house on even the bluest of days – a friendly face is never far away.

Kate, affected by cancer

Alcohol

For most people, having the occasional drink shouldn’t affect your chemotherapy treatment. But it’s best to check with your cancer doctor or specialist nurse first.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations can reduce your chance of getting certain infections. If you’ve had chemotherapy, you may not be able to have some vaccinations as your immune system may be weakened. These include ‘live’ vaccinations, which use tiny amounts of a live virus or bacteria, such as:

  • MMR (the triple vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella)
  • BCG (tuberculosis)
  • yellow fever
  • oral typhoid
  • shingles.

If you’re going abroad on holiday during chemotherapy treatment, it’s important to remember that you should not have any ‘live’ travel vaccines. The vaccinations you may need will depend on where you’re going. Before booking a holiday, ask your doctor if you need any vaccines and whether it’s safe for you to have them.

Holidays and travel insurance

Sometimes people who have cancer can find it difficult to get travel insurance. It’s best to look for travel insurance as early as possible. Ideally, you should start looking before booking a holiday.

Back to Side effects of chemotherapy

Possible side effects

There are many possible side effects to chemotherapy treatment, but they can be reduced. There are practical ways to manage them.