Nausea & Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting is one of the most distressing side effects that people with cancer experience. This can sometimes lead to dehydration, serious electrolyte imbalance, and weight loss.
Common causes of Nausea and Vomiting
- Certain chemotherapy and targeted immunotherapy regimens
- Other medications
- Radiation therapy to the whole body or certain parts of the body (such as the abdominal area or the brain’s vomiting center).
- Cancer in the brain
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Blocked intestines
- Bleeding in the stomach or intestines
- Unmanaged nausea and vomiting can lead to dehydration, serious electrolyte imbalance, weight loss, and anticipatory nausea and vomiting.
- Many effective antiemetic regimens are available for specific type of cancer treatment.
- A number of integrative approaches can enhance your antiemetic regimen and improve your comfort.
Managing Nausea and Vomiting
There are of course conventional ways to prevent your nausea and vomiting, but we prefer to also look at integrative approaches that will enhance your anti-vomiting regimen and improve your comfort. Some of the things that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) suggests that deep breathing, guided imagery, hypnosis, and other relaxation techniques such as listening to music, reading a book, or mediating may help some people.
- Credit: BCCT: Nausea and Vomiting
- American Society of Clinical Oncology Cancer.Net: Nausea and Vomiting
- National Cancer Institute: Nausea and Vomiting in People with Cancer
- Dosing and drug interactions for supplements: Alschuler LN, Gazella KA. The Definitive Guide to Cancer, 3rd Edition: An Integrative Approach to Prevention, Treatment, and Healing. Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts. 2010.
- Block KI. Life Over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Care. New York: Bantam Dell. 2009; provides information on multiple approaches for managing nausea and vomiting
- McKinney N. Naturopathic Oncology, 3rd Edition. Victoria, BC, Canada: Liaison Press. 2016.
- Cookbooks with tips and recipes for those experiencing N&V:
- Clinical Practice Guidelines:
- National Comprehensive Cancer Network clinical practice guidelines for antiemesis (login required)
- Deng GE, Frenkel M et al. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for integrative oncology: complementary therapies and botanicals. Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology. 2009 Summer;7(3):85-120.
- Deng GE, Rausch SM et al. Complementary therapies and integrative medicine in lung cancer: diagnosis and management of lung cancer, 3rd ed: American College of Chest Physicians evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Chest. 2013 May;143(5 Suppl):e420S-e436S.
- Greenlee H, DuPont-Reyes MJ et al. Clinical practice guidelines on the evidence-based use of integrative therapies during and after breast cancer treatment. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2017 May 6;67(3):194-232.
- Sheikhi MA, Ebadi A, Talaeizadeh A, Rahmani H. Alternative methods to treat nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy. Chemotherapy Research and Practice. 2015;2015:818759.
- Martin L. Rossman, MD: Fighting Cancer from Within
- Barbara MacDonald, ND, LAc: The Breast Cancer Companion: A Complementary Care Manual: Third Edition
- Dwight McKee, MD, editor: Clinical Pearls
- September 2018 Issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
- Wayne Jonas, MD: Your Healing Journey: A Patient’s Guide to Integrative Breast Cancer Care
- United Patients Group: Informative Videos on Medical Cannabis & Marijuana
- American Society of Clinical Oncology: Cancer.Net
- Donald I. Abrams, MD, and Andrew T. Weil, MD: Integrative Oncology, 2nd Edition
- National Comprehensive Cancer Network Patient and Caregiver Resources
- Michael Lerner: Choices In Healing: Integrating the Best of Conventional and Complementary Approaches to Cancer
- healthjourneys: Meditations