Patient Support

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Symptom Management

Each patient’s experience of treatment is different. Most patients experience some, but not all, of the symptoms listed below. The information in this section is offered as a resource for patients and family members. Please talk with your nurse and doctor about specific concerns.

Nausea and Vomiting

Many patients experience nausea and vomiting at some time during the treatment process. These are two of the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Thankfully, just as medicine has advanced against cancer, great progress has been made in preventing and treating nausea and vomiting.


Being tired is a very common experience for patients in treatment. There are a number of possible causes. It usually takes time to work out ways to live with and manage fatigue. Read more about how you can do it.

Memory and Concentration Problems

Changes in memory and concentration are common throughout treatment. These changes are almost always medically related. In most cases, they are temporary and will improve when you complete treatment and start feeling better.


It is very common to experience anxiety when facing a new or stressful experience. Our goal is to help you reduce that anxiety.

Body-Image Changes

Treatment can affect your body and your life in ways that are hard on your self-esteem. The first step in coping with body-image changes is to direct your energy and thoughts toward what you can and will do for yourself.

Change and Uncertainty

The treatment process is one filled with changes and uncertainty: When will this be done? How can I plan ahead? Answers to these questions are difficult because each patient responds differently to treatment, and complications are hard to predict. Patients often adapt to this uncertainty by trying to take each day one at a time.


Cancer patients sometimes experience pain. Most pain can easily be treated with medications and other treatments. Your doctor and nurse will help you manage any pain you experience.

Suggestions for Managing Care at Home

Here are some suggestions for managing care at home developed by Seattle Cancer Care Alliance patients and staff to help you.

Taking Care of the Caregiver

Caregivers are encouraged to take care of themselves by exercising, eating well and getting enough sleep. Taking breaks is important, too. Try these suggestions for both self-care and caregiving.