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Nausea

Nausea is a common side effect of melanoma therapies, including chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Besides the obvious discomfort it causes, nausea can prevent you from getting enough food and needed nutrients. Feelings of nausea are usually temporary and will disappear in the weeks after treatment ends.

Tips for Managing Nausea

  • Nausea and vomiting can be controlled effectively by a number of anti-nausea drugs, also known as anti-emetics. These medications are often started before the beginning of cancer treatment and are continued for as long as nausea is likely to occur. Talk to your doctor about medicines that may help your nausea.

  • Being active may slow the process of digestion. It is best to rest in a sitting position for about an hour after meals.

  • If nausea is a problem in the morning, try eating dry toast or crackers before getting up.

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes.

Foods and Nausea 

  • Some foods that minimize nausea include toast and crackers, yogurt, sherbet, pretzels, angel food cake, oatmeal, skinned chicken (baked or broiled), fruits and vegetables that are soft or bland (such as canned peaches), clear liquids (sipped slowly), and ice chips.

  • Avoid fatty, greasy, fried, spicy, or hot food with strong odors.

  • Avoid sweets such as candy, cookies, or cake.

  • Try to eat frequent, small meals instead of three large meals.

  • Avoid eating or staying in rooms that are stuffy, too warm, or have cooking odors that might disagree with you.

  • Hot or warm foods may aggravate nausea. Eat foods at room temperature or cooler.

  • Don't force yourself to eat favorite foods when you feel nauseated. You may end up permanently disliking your favorites.

Drinking and Nausea 

  • Drink or sip liquids throughout the day, except at mealtimes. If drinking from a glass is distasteful, using a straw may limit feelings of nausea.

  • Avoid liquids at mealtime. Drinking liquids with meals can cause a full, bloated feeling.

  • Hot drinks may aggravate nausea. Drink cool or chilled beverages. Try freezing favorite beverages in ice cube trays.



IMPORTANT!

Talk to your healthcare team about your nausea when:

  • You are taking anti-nausea medicine that is not working. You may need to change dosage or medication.

  • Eating is a problem. A registered dietician can be consulted to provide tips and suggestions to help with eating.

  • You have information to share with your doctor or nurse about the patterns of your nausea. Try to keep track of when your nausea occurs and what causes it (eg: specific foods, events, surroundings). Your team can advise you how to make appropriate changes in your diet or schedule.