Coping with side-effects and symptoms while cocooning

sick child and mother

Lots of people have questions and worries about side-effects and symptoms, during and after cancer treatment. If you’re cocooning you may be seeing less of your medical team, and you may be unsure how to get information and support.

The following information and tips may help:

  • Read about your treatment to help you understand possible side-effects, how long they usually last and any ways to improve them. There are often things you can do yourself to improve side-effects and symptoms. See our section coping with side-effects and symptoms for advice.
  • Your local pharmacist can be a great source of information, especially for advice about your medication and possible side-effects.
  • Keep a diary of any side-effects or symptoms, so you will be able to give your doctor as much information as possible – when they started, if they are getting better or worse, if they’re there all the time or if they come and go.
  • Many treatment side-effects clear up a few weeks after treatment ends, but some side-effects can last a long time or even be permanent, others may appear sometime after treatment. Let your doctor or specialist nurse know if you’re worried or notice a new side-effect or symptom.
  • Don’t feel you’re bothering your medical team or that you should wait until your next appointment to report any changes. It’s important to get any issues checked out sooner rather than later, and there are treatments to help with most side-effects.
  • You may worry that side-effects of your treatment are a sign that your cancer has come back.Y This can be very distressing, but remember that side-effects like fatigue are very common after treatment and usually get better after a while. It’s still important to let your doctor or specialist nurse know if you’re worried or notice a new side-effect or symptom.
  • Ask your doctor if they can do a video call if you can’t meet face to face and you want to show them something on your body, for example, a skin problem or rash, or ask about sending a photo by email before your consultation.
  • If you become suddenly unwell and can’t contact your specialist nurse or hospital team, contact your GP or the accident and emergency department at the hospital. They can let you know about their procedures for cocooning patients who need to visit.
Contact the Irish Cancer Society Support Line

The Irish Cancer Society continues to be available to provide support and information on this matter or any other queries related to cancer through its Freephone Irish Cancer Society Support Line on 1800 200 700.