Some members of the advanced prostate cancer support group have recommended the use of frozen gloves, hats and slippers while Taxotere is being administered in order to minimize hair, skin and nail side effects. Some oncologists don’t believe that these frozen items have any effect, and have observed that if there are cancer cells in your feet, head or hands, will they be able to escape the chemotherapy because you have slowed down the cellular division by icing them? Nevertheless, you could still consider their use; talk to your doctors about whether your particular situation makes you a candidate.
If you do decide to use them, one recommended source for these items is at M&W Sales (888-880-2747). The product number for the gloves is TM7008, the slippers are SL3000 and the cold cap is CAP610.
According to M&S you should have two sets of each to swap them out along with a cooler full of dry ice to keep the items cold. They recommend that you start using the “equipment” 15 minutes prior to the start of the administration of the Taxotere and then swap out the products every 30 minutes for a colder one. It is also stated that the products should be taken on and off every 15 minutes while the infusion progresses. The CVS pharmacy (www.CVS.com) also offers cold packs on-line.
NOTE: Malecare is recommending neither M&W nor CVS; we are only passing along the feedback received from some of the members of the on-line advanced prostate cancer support group.
Those individuals unable to obtain or afford these items may wish to follow the advice given by another member of the support group who viewed a YouTube video that showed how to make diaper freeze pads. He took a baby diaper, poured 3 oz. of water and 3 oz. of 100% alcohol on to the diaper and then froze it overnight. The patient would take the frozen diapers to the treatment center to use on his finger and toenails. It is important to leave any cold item on your body for only 15 minutes and then remove it for 15 minutes, repeating the process through the duration of the infusion.
Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy. Untreated nausea and vomiting can have serious consequences. Nausea can cause exhaustion and dehydration. Vomiting can throw off your electrolyte balance. Losing fluids can also increase the toxicity of the chemotherapy and prevent you from continuing treatment.
Some men may experience anticipatory or conditioned nausea before getting the treatment. If you have this experience talk to your doctor about starting antiemetic drugs before you start your treatment. Some men get relief from chewing on ginger, or ice cubes, or using acupressure bands.
Mouth infections, rawness of the tongue and throat (oral mucositis) are also a common side effect of chemotherapy. This may make it difficult to eat, speak or swallow. Some have reported that using Biotene, First Mouthwash BLM, or First Mouthwash BXN, which are moisturizing mouthwashes, can be helpful. It is also possible for your doctor to write a compounding prescription for a specialized mouthwash that will contain at least three of these items:
- An antibiotic to kill bacteria around any sores.
- An anti-histamine or local anesthetic to reduce pain and discomfort.
- An antifungal to reduce fungal growth.
- A corticosteroid to treat inflammation.
- An antacid to coat the mouth.
Usually, the mouthwash is intended to be used every 4 to 6 hours and to be held in your mouth for 2 to 3 minutes before being spit out or swallowed. It is also recommended that you don’t eat or drink for 30 minutes after using any of these mouthwashes so the medicine has time to produce an effect. It is unclear how effective these mouthwashes are in treating oral mucositis since there is a lack of standardization in the formulations of these mouthwashes making it impossible to gather adequate data. They also have been known to create problems with changing perceived taste, a burning sensation in the mouth, drowsiness, constipation, diarrhea and nausea.
On the Advanced Prostate Cancer online support group several individuals have recommended using glutamine powder. One individual said that he takes 1 teaspoon of the powder mixed into juice 2 to 3 times a day, every day. They also have reported that the powder has successfully combated their low energy level and fatigue during chemotherapy. There are online references to the use of glutamine powder to reduce peripheral neuropathy during chemotherapy.
However, no one on chemotherapy claims to have avoided many of the common chemotherapy side effects altogether.
One participant in the advanced prostate cancer online support group has made the following recommendations to deal with various side effects:
- To treat nausea: Zofran (ginger tea) or chew on ginger
- To treat tear duct scarring: eye drops and cold and warm compresses
- To treat oral problems: Biotene or another dry mouth mouthwash
- To treat Edema: compression stockings
- To treat constipation: Sennelot, Miralax, or Normacol
- To Treat fatigue: exercise
- To treat stomach effects: Glutamine, ginger tea, or Zantac
- To treat skin rash: moisturizing or antifungal creams depending on problem
It is possible for a man to go through chemotherapy with minimal side effects and then unexpectedly, several months later, experience some side effects.
For more information on how to manage the side effects of Taxotere go to:
One man summed up his personal experience during chemotherapy, day by day. He reported:
- Day of the infusion – He felt well
- Day 2- He felt a little weak
- Day 3 through Day 5 – He feels like “crap,” reported that couldn’t sleep but was tired (probably due to the steroids that accompany the medication) and had some pain.
- Day 6 – He reported that he begins to feel better each day thereafter until he has the next infusion.
He also commented that the chemotherapy does “suck.” However, he makes it a point to walk at least one hour per day, every day.