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Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2007

I just started radiation and after the first day became so nauseated I haven't been able to eat much. Nurse said that is very unusual. Would someone comment on the best anti-nausea drugs or has anyone tried acupunture?? My name is Robin and I have stage 3 rectal cancer, already had surgery and was suppose to be taking xeloda too but with this nausea onc said to wait. thank you

chynabear's picture
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Robin,

I am sorry that you are feeling nauseas. I never went through radiation, so maybe I can't answer your specific question, but I would call your onc office and request a prescription for something. My onc prescribed two different meds, one was a heavy duty anti-nausea med and the other was a light-medium duty. The heavy duty was very expensive, but I was very grateful to have it when I needed it. My onc's wanted to take care of any side-effect before it had a chance to blossom out of control.

I have had acupuncture for nausea and for headaches. It worked fairly well.

Maybe you just caught a bug? I know the nausea bug has been making it's rounds within my group of friends.

Maybe you could try a few bland, nutritious foods?

I hope this passes quickly.


usakat's picture
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Hi Robin,

I had stage III colon cancer. I did not have radiation, but a chemo cocktail of Xeloda, Leucovorin and Oxaliplatin, with a steriod boost.
During my infusions I was also given Kytril for nausea.

I suffered extensive nausea and vomiting throughout my treatment (some do - some don't), so on my light nausea days I took Compazine (tablet), on days immediately after chemo or rough days I took Zofran in any way I could get it in and keep it down (injection, oral melt-away or tablet, and suppository). Toward the end of my chemo I went on the hard anti-nausea, anti-vomiting drug Emend and it was a heavenly gift.

Like Tricia said, Zofran and Emend are quite expensive and some insurance plans will not cover them. If this is your case, ask your doctor or your pharmacist - they often get drug samples from the drug manufacturers and will give them to you for free. When I was finished with chemo I donated my left-over Zofran to my cancer center for a patient who did not have the fortune of such great insurance like I had. That is also another option.

I hope your treatments get easier - the first one is always the toughest...


chynabear's picture
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

I believe that I had Zolfran and Compazine as my scripts now that you mention them. I was also given the pre-chemo anti-nausea and relaxing meds.

JoyceCanada's picture
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

Hi Robin: I had stage III rectal cancer NED since October 2006.

My regime was as follows:

2 rounds of Folfox 4 (5FU/Oxiliplatin/Lev)
28 continuous 5 days per week 5FU on a pump and radiation
6 rounds of Folfox 4 (5FU/oxiliplatin/lev)

During radiation I had severe diarrhea and a really bad radiation burn on my butt. The burn was so bad that my radiologist took we off for a 2 week "holiday" near the end of the treatment. I went on to finish the treatment!

I really don't remember being nauseated during radiation. I did however take zolfan during the Folfox chemo part of treatment.

Looking back on the whole experience - I don't remember it being too bad! The end result of NED was worth it...the time went by quickly!!!

My thoughts and prayers are with you.


peacegift2002's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: Apr 2004

Well, I do remember nausea from the radiation! The best thing I did for me is to eat what they told me to eat - carbs, nothing raw. Got on top of the diarreah with immodium, and loved those adult wipes. Some also use a spray bottle filled with water or a sitz bath to help.
The anti nauseas everyone has recommended will help - Zofran is going generic, I think. If you can get Aloxi infusion, dexadron, also some compazine and atavan for home, that helped. I did not need much in the way of big drugs for the radiation, just for the chemo, like Emend and all the rest. As for the radiation, the big thing is to not vary from what they tell you that you can eat. Bread and crackers are your friends. Good luck and strength to you.

Posts: 768
Joined: Aug 2004

Hi Robin.

Sorry to hear you are having difficulty. I had stage 3 Rectal CA as well. Just celebrated myt 3 year NED !!!

Anyway, I had a 24/7 chemo pack ( 5FU ) while going thru radiation. 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Actually, I think I did 28 treatments. My surgery was done after this not before.

I have to admit, that I didn't have any nausea at all. Even with the chemo. The Folfox was a different story ( I had that after the surgery)

I believe tremendous positive thoughts and spirit played a huge part in my treatment. I was told that the radiation and that particular chemo wouldn't cause nausea, so I went with that.

Of course, that is not to say others don't experience their own set of side effects. Obviously we are all individuals.

I did experience terrible diarrhea. That was pretty bad at the end of the 6 weeks. Lots of A & D ointment and soft tissue paper. I lived in the bathroom.

I suppose I didn't give you much info, but just know that we are here for you.

Best of luck.


StacyGleaso's picture
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mar 2003

Hey Robin!

I was stage 4 (almost 6 yrs ago!) and was told to get compazine if I needed to combat nausea. I don't know if that helps with radiation, but I was told it would work for chemo, if needed. (knock on wood, I filled the prescription, but to this day still have a full bottle as I never needed it!)

Maybe your nerves are playing a little game on you, too. The anxiety alone of getting treatment can be just as bad as the treatment sometimes. A friend of mine would get sick (vomiting) by the mere SIGHT of her oncologist's building!

Anyway, you will find that we really rally around to offer information and support on this site. Just remember that everyone is different and what may work for one may not work for everyone.

Best wishes for smooth sailing,


P.S. E-mail me through this site if I can help you further. I really feel a huge obligation to help get others on the healthy side of happy!

Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004

Hi. Definately talk to your doc about a presciption... but - also want you to know they have done studies about some people have extreme nausea and vomit simply driving to the hospital. Which means it is "just" in some people's heads, but is VERY real. Because your case is "unusual" I would try the drugs, but also the acupuncture. It certainly won't hurt you!

BYW: the studies I am speaking of are done by oncs at MD Anderson... real docs.

I am a stage 4 survivor, and a physician. Hope this helps just a tad. Stay tough!


usakat's picture
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Hi Robin,

Your initial question was about anti-nausea drugs and acupuncture and so far you have received some good information. Managing side effects of cancer treatments is one of the more difficult things for a patient, caregiver and doctor. In fact, managing side effects are probably the most common questions we get here at CSN. You are just starting out so I thought it might help to summarize what we have offered you so far:

1. Everybody and every body is different, and therefore react differently to radiation and/or chemo. For instance both my mom and I had stage III colon cancer. We both had 5fu/leuc, but I also had oxal. My mom had serious mouth sores - I had none. We both had hand/foot syndrome. I had terrible nausea and vomiting 1 to 3 days after treatment - my mom's was mild. Same cancer, similar treatment - very different side effects. It is vitally important for you to communicate exactly what is going on with you to your medical team because you are beautifully unique and only you and your doctor can establish the best way to manage your side effects. Just like what Stacy says, what may work for one, may not work for another.

2. Attitude is important. As Stacy and Jana mentioned, some folks allow dread to overcome them and as a result make themselves sick or more sick. It's also vitally important to listen to your own body and recognize if your side effects are due to your actual treatments or your attitudes toward them (your nausea started AFTER your treatment, not before - a good indicator). Again, this is where your medical team can help you and then prescribe the appropriate fix. Please don't ever let someone tell you that your side effects are all in your head. Like Tricia says, it's good to take care of side effects before they blossom out of control. Ignoring side effects and letting them get out of control can have dangerous and lasting consequences.

3. Your original question and what was communicated in the above responses point out a new and growing approach to cancer treatments - combined therapy. Many doctors and cancer centers are researching a combined approach to cancer treatments, blending Western medicine with Eastern medicine/philosophies. The indication is this approach is leading to tremendous advances in patient tolerance to treatment and overall outcome. It's a whole body approach. If you have an interest and are open to things like acupuncture, go for it. I found that nutrition, yoga, positive journal writing, creative visualization and reaching out to survivors helped. It's all part of a journey of self-discovery. You can embrace it or loathe it - it's a matter of choice.

The bottom line = listen to your body and maintain open communication with your medical team. Never hesitate to contact your medical team for help and advice - and never hesitate to come to us for support. Know that you will get through it! And welcome to our group!

All the best to you and yours...

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