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3 Lesser Known Cancer Treatment Side Effects

When most people think about the side effects of cancer treatment, things like vomiting, hair loss, and weakness probably come to mind. However, cancer treatment can cause a wide variety of side effects. Which side effects a person experiences can depend on the kind of treatment they are having, drugs used for treatment, and the part of the body being treated. While you may be familiar with some possible side effects of cancer, there are some you may not be aware of. Being aware of some of the lesser known side effects can help you to be prepared for them if they occur in your aging relative. Below are three cancer treatment side effects you may not have heard of.

Elder Care in Cotati CA: Cancer Treatment Side Effects

Elder Care in Cotati CA: Cancer Treatment Side Effects


Hiccuping is caused by the diaphragm contracting between breaths. Hiccups can be a result of cancer or treatment affecting diaphragm nerves, causing a problem in the brain or esophagus, or placing pressure on the stomach. Hiccups are irritating, but usually minor. However, if they last a long time, they can make it hard to eat or drink. Elder care can help your aging relative to manage hiccups by:

  • Having them drink a glass of water slowly.
  • Offering the older adult a paper bag to breathe into.
  • Reminding the senior to use medications the doctor has suggested for hiccups. Since these medications may cause dizziness, the elder care provider can also assist them with standing and walking to prevent a fall.

Leg Cramps.

Leg cramps can be a side effect of cancer because of the patient having to lie in bed for a long time. They can also be caused by dehydration and certain medications. An elder care provider can help with cramps by:

  • Encouraging the patient to change positions frequently.
  • Helping the senior to exercise their legs while in bed. For example, they can help them to bend and straighten legs ten times each twice per day.
  • Applying a heat pack to the cramp or massaging it.
  • Making sure the older adult drinks plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Mouth Sores.

Some kinds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment to the head and neck can cause sores in the mouth. They can be painful and take up to four weeks to heal, making it hard for the person to eat. An elder care provider can help manage mouth sores by:

  • Assisting the senior to follow the mouth care plan suggested by the doctor.
  • Check the mouth two times each day for sores, which should be reported to the doctor.
  • Offering cold foods, like popsicles, yogurt, and ice cream, which can provide some hydration while also being soothing.
  • Preparing meals that are easy to chew, not salty, and low in acid.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Cotati, CA, call At Your Service Home Care.  Call today! (707) 573-1003




Lucy Andrews DNP, RN, MS

In 1988, after working as a clinical nurse in the University Health System at UC San Francisco, Lucy Andrews started understanding home care.

She became a discharge planner and immediately fell in love with the concept of home care and the autonomous clinical practice it affords nurses. Dr. Lucy was hooked and has been a strong supporter of home care ever since.Believing people need advocates in healthcare systems, she has championed that cause across the acute care and post-acute care setting.

Dr. Lucy has worked in every aspect of home care from Medicare Certified, DME, Infusion, Hospice and finally Private Duty/Private Pay services. She also works as a home care consultant across the country and as a legal nurse consultant for the home care industry.

Having worked in all areas of home care, Dr. Lucy has a well-rounded perspective of the challenges facing patients, families and the home care industry, and as a provider she advocates for patients through the maze of health care services. Dr. Lucy celebrated over 37 years as a nurse and patient advocate.

Dr. Lucy has a Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing from Lewis University, Romeoville, Illinois.In 1994, she received her Masters of Science in Health Service Administration from St. Mary's University, Moraga, California. Dr. Lucy received her Doctor of Nursing Practice awarded in 2016, graduating with Distinction and a 4.0 GPA.

She did her doctoral work on the global dementia crisis, aging and prevention strategies for healthy living. Developed dementia and Alzheimer's disease plans for aging patients leaving the hospital setting or entering long-term care or home health and hospice environments. She also developed a specialized program for those at risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

In 1992, Dr. Lucy was designated CAHSAH Certified Home Care Administrator in the inaugural offering of this designation through the California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH).

She is the founder and CEO of Creative Solutions Home Care Consulting Services and At Your Service Nursing & Home Care, a concierge nursing & home care agency that provides the services she believes are essential for seniors to age in place.She offers a higher level of care allowing people to be in their own homes with an emphasis on independence, safety, and quality of life.

Dr. Lucy is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) and sits on the Board of Directors for California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH).

She has served on the boards for both state and national board associations, and is currently on the following boards and committees: Board of Directors, California State Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH), 2002-present, National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC's) Private Duty Home Care Association Director, and multiple state and national home care committees.

Dr. Lucy goes to Washington, DC, several times a year to advocate for senior services and home care issues. She was past Commissioner for the Sonoma Commission on Human Rights.She is past chair of the local Senior Advocacy Services.