The fight with malignant disease is one of the most difficult challenges that every patient and his family have to face in life.

It is a 24-hour daily commitment that exhausts both the mind and the body.

Haematological malignant disease can hit the patient in many ways - the disease itself, the aggressive treatments used to combat it and the side effects of those treatments. Dealing with unwanted bodily effects is accompanied by a disorder and the emotional state of the patient.

In addition, a text that aims to help make it easier to understand the unwanted bodily and emotional effects associated with malignant disease, and guide the patient to relieve stress and easier to overcome the whole situation.

Changes in appetite

It is not unusual in patients with malignant disease to reduce appetite to its complete loss. Reasons for this are:

  • Treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation
  • Pain
  • Constipation
  • Medical conditions such as fever, pneumonia or wheezing
  • Side effects of certain drugs
  • Sorrow or depression
  • Anxiety

Below are some of the measures that patients should adhere to to help alleviate changes in appetite:

  • Eat small, more frequent meals. Use an alarm (alarm clock) as a food reminder.
  • Eat in the morning - Then you are naturally hungry, meaning a meal like the first thing in the morning.
  • Practice light exercises to stimulate your appetite.
  • Keep the food close to you.
  • Drink nutritious shakes, protein meals or blended porridges.
  • Limit the intake of fried and oily foods. It is harder to digest.
  • If you still do not have an appetite, talk to your doctor. You can be prescribed an appetite stimulating drug.
  • Change in taste and smell of food

Patients receiving chemotherapy may change their taste and smell, which can make eating difficult.

Below are some tips to help patients make their food more attractive:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Use fruits or herbs for a better taste of water. Try drinking non-coffean herbal teas or ginger juices.
  • Take care of your mouth. Wash your teeth and tongue after each meal. Rinse your mouth before eating with a solution of ¼ teaspoon baking soda dissolved in half a glass of water
  • Lemon or frozen fresh fruit (grapes, melon or orange) can help to clean the palate before eating.
  • Also use a gum (without sugar), peppermint or lemon drops.
  • If you have metallic taste in your mouth, use plastic cutlery and avoid canned foods, marinated and cooked meats in sweet juices, sauces, fruits, sour dressings or wines.
  • Include other sources of protein in your diet, such as fish, eggs, beans, walnuts, milk, cheese, yoghurt, tofu, peanut butter, and protein powders.
  • If consumed food has more salty or bitter taste, it can help you if you add honey, agave, maple syrup or food jam.
  • If the food that is consumed is sweet, add lemon, vinegar or balsamic and increase salty or acid flavors.
  • Try spices that you do not usually eat.
  • To reduce the smell of food, eat cold food or food at room temperature. Try soup too. Avoid staying in rooms where food is cooked.

Changes in the body

Almost every patient goes through a period of worry over the changes through which his body passes. Additional support and guidance are very important to help you cope with these problems.

The image for the body is more than what you see in your appearance. It also applies to the way you see, think and feel about all aspects of your body and the way it works.

The image of your body can change over time and is influenced by what you are experiencing at the moment.

Although there may be a significant difference between what you see on your body and how others experience it, your personal attitudes and feelings about your body are what matters.

The disease and its treatment can change the appearance and the way the patient's body works.

Often, patients are concerned about the occurrence of:

  • Scarring / distortion
  • Swollen limbs (lymphoedema)
  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of teeth
  • Sensory changes (neuropathy)
  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Bowel incontinence / bladder
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Losing weight or gain
  • Loss of mobility
  • Changes in speech, swallowing, vision or hearing
  • Loss of the arm or leg
  • Using a prosthesis

As a result of such changes, patients may suffer from depression, anxiety, withdrawal and social isolation. Many patients, both male and female, do not want to talk about such personal and private issues, even with loved ones. The Clinic for Hematology - Skopje and its doctors are here for all your questions and doubts.

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