CSN Login
Members Online: 13

Drinking while on chemo

Marlene_K's picture
Marlene_K
Posts: 508
Joined: Jul 2009

I know (because I've been told) that I shouldn't drink while on chemo, but I really don't understand why. I've been meaning to ask my onc but I usually have so many questions that I forget about that one, as it's not a priority but really just want to know why. The vitamin thing I understand. Does anyone know why?

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5182
Joined: Apr 2003

I dunno...my ignorance was bliss! 6 weeks after surgery, and 2 weeks after getting the drains removed, I did my first Relay For Life. My sister and her husband came to the Relay ( their first as well) and stayed in a local hotel for the weekend. I live in California wine country and not only did I drink wine the night of the Relay,at the hotel I sat in a hot tub with my "affected" arm raised out of the hot water! I realize I hadn't started chemo yet, but that was only the beginning of my bad behavior! No, I didn't get drunk, but my chemo was during the summer months, and being that I didn't ask, and no one said I shouldn't~ I went to outdoor concerts all summer long at wineries and ate and drank and pretended I wasn't sick from chemo or anything else! So many world famous wineries are in my backyard, so to speak~ Firestone Brewery hosted local musician David Crosby and his "friend" Neil Young one night and I was there too~ drinking the local wine and whooooping at the concert with the singers of my mis-spent youth! I was wearing my wig, as it was public....LOL
That was back in 2003~ and it's almost 2010; so I don't know what to tell you!

Hugs,
Chen♥

Marlene_K's picture
Marlene_K
Posts: 508
Joined: Jul 2009

Well 7 years later, I guess you're telling me they don't know what they're talking about, lol! That's my drink of preference... I love my Merlot. I drank the weekend after my mastectomy, but am definitely concerned about drinking while on chemo as my doc said 'no drinking... period". I feel kinda stupid that I didn't say 'why not'???

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5182
Joined: Apr 2003

Q: While I’m on chemotherapy, can I still have a glass of wine or a beer with dinner?

A: Drinking alcohol—whether wine, beer, or liquor—may interfere with some chemotherapy drugs and can cause dehydration. Find out from your doctor or others on your health care team if having one drink with dinner is okay with the chemotherapy medication you’re taking. We tell our patients not to have alcohol the day before, day of, and day after chemotherapy.

Alcohol also can worsen some chemotherapy side effects, such as mouth sores. If the mouth becomes sore, alcohol can cause burning and additional dryness of the mouth. Some patients report that taste changes from chemotherapy or radiation to the head and neck make alcohol less enjoyable.

If it doesn’t conflict with your treatment medication, having a drink with dinner might help you relax and improve your appetite. But limit yourself to one drink. Excessive drinking is dangerous. Be sure your doctor knows the amount of alcohol you were drinking before treatment began, so you can get help with cutting back now if needed.
--Kathy Newman, RN, BSN

If you’re experiencing an upset stomach or nausea from chemotherapy, try a soothing cup of homemade ginger tea between or during meals.

Rague
Posts: 3282
Joined: Aug 2009

My understanding is taht alcohol works against the chemo drugs and does not allow them to do their job as they should. Alcohol can also be a 'triggering' (for lack of better/more medical word) for cancer. At both of my chemo education sessions it was emphasized that alcohol should be avoided.

Whoknowz
Posts: 82
Joined: Nov 2009

Maybe it depends on what you're getting. I take taxotere and cytoxan, and my doctor told me it's OK to drink. I love my wine, but my taste has been so off that I haven't tried it -- yet.

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4522
Joined: Aug 2009

My LFTs have been affected by the chemo, not the ones that are usuaually up with cancer and my scan was neg as well as other labs. so not only do I not drink i dont take tylenol. of course I have had alot of stomac h issues so not really interested, and I dont drink much anyway. though I often think i should start. I REALL"Y miss coffee though!!!!

TxLady's picture
TxLady
Posts: 37
Joined: Aug 2009

I have not had wine or margarita (my drinks of choice) since my second chemo treatment of Taxol earlier this summer. I don't know whether it will negatively affect my treatment, but I temporarily lost my taste for it, especially during my current FAC cocktail. I'm hoping I can stand the taste after I finish chemo....

and coffee. I miss that too. I am a huge coffee drinker and now that I'm on FAC I can't stand the smell of brewing coffee. I now drink tea in the morning. It's ok but not the same.

xskeetshooter
Posts: 169
Joined: Aug 2009

i dont understand why people dont take docs advice, there is a reason, so just follow orders if you want to survive this

Starr10's picture
Starr10
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2013

The reasons for not taking doctors advice, at times, is because they have no experience, no scientific data, or enough data to prove their reasonings. For example, I was told to take it easy on the supplements.  When I asked why that was advised, the doctor said in so many words that he was not educated in nutrition & supplements, that there wasn't enough data, so to be on the safe side, avoid.  It was so illogical to me, to avoid the very essence of health from nutrition which we don't get enough from in our foods, that I completely ignored him.  Doctors make mistakes.  They prescribe wrong medicines that the FDA has approved.  They give incorrect diagnosis.  They prescribe wrong treatments.  It would be unwise not to questioin your doctor's advice and do your own homework.  Talk to 2-3 doctors from different hospitals.  You'd be amazed at how they can differ.  Good luck!  We all need it.  :-)

blazytracy's picture
blazytracy
Posts: 157
Joined: Sep 2009

OK, yes, I have had only one chemo 3 days ago and have been drinking water ever since but last night I was a bit stressed out and had 2 drinks (I like my whiskey with diet pepsi haha) and it really didn't taste that good - that is all I drink when I drink so not really any other choice I have when I do feel like having one.

I was fine last night and feel fine today, I have not had any nausea either AT ALL from chemo so that is good..actually I haven't noticed any side effects at all from my first chemo. I have read that it may be cumulative so my effects may get worse as I have 7 chemos left.

I truly do not believe that one or two drinks is going to hurt anything but that is just me Marlene. Good luck with what you decide. When I go to my 2nd chemo, I will ask and see what they say.

Tracy

Marlene_K's picture
Marlene_K
Posts: 508
Joined: Jul 2009

what they tell you, Tracy. I will ask my oncologist when I see him again on Tuesday. Yea, that's another thing! I have to see him EVERY week. I'm gonna go broke on co-pays. I'm also planning to ask him that. I can see going the week I have chemo and if I have a problem, but my blood work has been excellent and I haven't had a need to see him other than him telling me I'm doing excellent... for THAT I have to pay $30???

LC815's picture
LC815
Posts: 155
Joined: Oct 2009

Marlene, I said similar words last week, "What's he going to do? Look at me?" This week, however, I'm rather emotional and my next appointment isn't until December 18th. I would welcome the chance to hear, "You're doing great!" So, I guess what I'm saying is, even though it's a pain to shell out cash, when you think that you're ONLY paying thirty dollars for such good news . . . priceless.
Peace,
Linda

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

in moderation and it was fine. My onc. said that alcohol would not interfere with my chemo regimen (TAC). I drank right after my first infusion, even. Ask your doc. the reason. Sometimes it's because they don't want you to get dehydrated or alcohol can worsen some chemo side effects. Good luck.

Mimi

Marlene_K's picture
Marlene_K
Posts: 508
Joined: Jul 2009

I never realized you had the same cocktail as me! I see tons that have AC or CT but none that had Taxotere as well. Do you know why? Have you ever looked into the benefit of having all 3?

e_hope's picture
e_hope
Posts: 371
Joined: Sep 2009

I don't know.. but I drank on a few occasions during my chemo adventure this summer. I only drank when it was my off week of chemo, and never over did it.

For me it helped me to feel "normal" to be with friends and have a few drinks. LOL.. those few time I did have a cocktail.. I would get the best night sleeps...

jennytwist
Posts: 715
Joined: Sep 2009

chemo - my Dr said no.

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4522
Joined: Aug 2009

My doc never said anything about it. but like I said its not wise for me to do so. But anything in moderation..... I would ask my doc though and ask why and if once in awhole is ok.
off subject but I was told not to get manicures, or pedis I am dying for one. If i push the cuticles back does it matter?

MyTurnNow's picture
MyTurnNow
Posts: 2694
Joined: Aug 2009

I got pedicures every 3 weeks while on chemo. The important thing is that they do not cut the cuticle back. That's due to a chance of infection. So, I haven't had the cuticles cut but I do still get the pedicure.

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5182
Joined: Apr 2003

I also had pedicures during chemo--the neuropathy in my feet was so bad that to get my feet soaked and especially lotioned and massaged for an hour was heavenly bliss personified! I did not let them cut either; as a matter of fact I got a nice pedicure set at a beauty supply and that was what I took with me, so as to hopefully avoid any infections. I was just fine!

Hugs,
C♥

Marlene_K's picture
Marlene_K
Posts: 508
Joined: Jul 2009

My salon also gave me my own set. I bring it with me every time I go. I think it's a great idea and plan to always do that. It IS smart when you think about it!

Marlene_K's picture
Marlene_K
Posts: 508
Joined: Jul 2009

I was never told! I got rid of my tips and have just a thin coat of filler put on the top with just a clear top coat. I haven't been for a pedicure yet, as I only do those once in a while. I generally take care of my own feet, but I planned on going soon. Were you given a reason?

blazytracy's picture
blazytracy
Posts: 157
Joined: Sep 2009

doing my pink and white, they look great...although I have only had one chemo..will let you know that too Marlene..

dyaneb123's picture
dyaneb123
Posts: 951
Joined: May 2009

I asked my ONC. if I could have a Margarita with the girls if I wanted one and he said sure, but I probably wouldn't want it....as it turned out, he was right...everything tasted yucky to me on chemo. I have learned that wine is good for the skin while on rads though...and my taste is back... :)

Marlene_K's picture
Marlene_K
Posts: 508
Joined: Jul 2009

Or maybe it just hasn't started yet, but my taste buds haven't been affected yet. I had my 2nd treatment a week ago. How long does it take for that to happen? Wine is my drink of choice, for sure, and there are many good things that come from drinking wine. But from some reading I've been doing, they seem to be linking breast cancer with drinking, so that definitely concerns me. I DO still have one left and I hope to GOD I can keep it. I think a 2nd diagnosis would floor me!

S3
Posts: 28
Joined: Nov 2009

Chemo and alchol both can damage the liver. Too much liver damage and they have to stop the chemo. I have has a couple of beers and a bottle of wine while on chemo, LOL.

tasha_111's picture
tasha_111
Posts: 2041
Joined: Oct 2008

They say................."Drink lots of Liquids" I Did............. Wine Beer and Spirits.................I made it through chemo and Rads........I drank everything that was to hand...................Whatever gets you through the night..........it's alright!

Jxxxxxxxxxxxxx

roseann4
Posts: 994
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Ladies,

I did not have chemo but had a habit of drinking 1 - 2 glasses of wine a night. We all heard the connection between drinking over 4 servings per week of alcohol and increased reoccurance rates so I thought I should look into it. They say the real issue is that the liver treats alcohol as a toxin and removes that first before processing anything else. So the liver cannot get rid of unwanted bad estrogen during those periods. It seems the bad estrogen is elimated through the liver. So, if you are having chemo which the liver is trying to process it may be that the alcohol screws up that process. I don't really know because I did not read about chemo and alcohol but it does seem like it may be one logical reason for concern.

By the way, I still drink my wine on occassion but fewer than 4 servings per week. BC takes away so many of our basic pleasures!

Roseann

natly15's picture
natly15
Posts: 1930
Joined: Sep 2009

Marlene, I like Merlot, Chardonnay, and Zin fandel. I asked my onc early on if I could have a glass of wine with dinner and he said, YES. That was before I started chemo, but I think a sociable glass on ocassion isnt going to make a whole lot of difference. A week or 2 after chemo, I couldnt drink a glass if you paid me, but weekend before chemo leaves some room for a glass if my tummy is up to it. Cheers!!

LadyParvati's picture
LadyParvati
Posts: 328
Joined: Oct 2009

I think you've received some really good information here. The combination of alcohol and chemo can have some unknown and potentially bad effects. Even so, a little bit once in awhile probably isn't a big risk.

Like a couple of people mentioned, I read that daily drinking increases the risk of cancer--a LOT. As a result, I've cut my daily glass of wine to one or two (4-8 ounces) on the weekend, no more than two or 8 ounces total for the week. I may not want any during chemo, or I may have a little occasionally, but I doubt I'll even drink my glass or two per week.

Enjoying my red wine became a whole lot less important to me after being diagnosed. Guess I'll find other pleasures to enjoy!

Sandy

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 3932
Joined: Oct 2009

One very simple reason is that chemo hits your liver hard.  Guess what alcohol does too?  If onc says don't drink, don't.  Depending on your therapy, they may or may not say this.  You don't need avoidable liver damage!

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network