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7 things to do before starting chemotherapy


Depending on your treatment options, you may not undergo chemotherapy, but if you do, you can be prepared with these tips compiled with the help of people living with metastatic disease. We asked women living with MBC about their different experiences, and they offered practical ways you can minimize side effects and support your well-being while you are in treatment. Another benefit? When you act on your own behalf, as these tips suggest, you will feel more empowered to continue advocating for your health.

A text version of this list is below, and you can download a PDF here.

7 things to do before starting chemotherapy.

Do these before your first chemotherapy treatment:

  1. Get a port (aka port-a-cath) for easier, safer, and more comfortable chemo infusions.
  2. Go to the dentist and resolve any dental issues.
  3. Explore hair options such as scalp cooling or buying a wig and/or some hats and scarves. Find out what your insurance covers.
  4. Discover supportive care. Learn what palliative care or complementary therapies (yoga, acupuncture, etc.) are offered at your cancer center.
  5. Stock up on remedies like soothing teas like peppermint and chamomile, ginger-based lozenges, and Biotene mouthwash. Ask your doctor if Tums and Tylenol may be good OTC medicines to have on demand.
  6. Join online support groups based on your type of MBC and your treatment. Find out if there is a local group at your cancer center.
  7. Avoid Dr. Google and rely on trusted online resources.

You can get more tips and insights about living with MBC from women who’ve been there in our new Making meaning, telling stories video series.


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