Astrocytoma Side Effects
Common side effects of chemotherapy for astrocytoma include anorexia, nausea, vomiting and irritation of the lining of the mouth and intestines.
Nausea and Vomiting
Chemotherapy drugs that often cause nausea and vomiting include:
- Carmustine (BiCNU)
- Cisplatin (Platinol)
- Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar)
- Dacarbazine (DTIC-Dome)
- Mechlorethamine (Mustargen)
- Streptozocin (Zanosar)
Nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy can be prevented or controlled using general measures and medications. These include:
- Avoid stomach irritants such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
- Avoid exposure to unpleasant odors.
- Drink cool beverages throughout the day. Try un-sweetened tea or flat sodas.
- Don't force yourself to eat at standard times. Eat when you are hungry instead.
- Concentrate on eating a healthy diet. Avoid junk foods.
- Eat more frequent, smaller meals.
- Relax in comfortable clothes after meals, but don't lie flat.
- Try relaxation techniques such as meditation.
- Ask your doctor or nutritionist about liquid dietary supplements.
- Ask your doctor about acupressure or acupuncture.
- Ask your doctor if any medications you may be taking can cause nausea or vomiting.
- Take any prescribed medications as directed. Medications used for nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy include:
Irritation of the lining of the mouth and intestinal tract is called mucositis. It can cause painful mouth sores, diarrhea and prevent absorption of nutrients. Mucositis often occurs in cancer patients receiving radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Drugs that often cause mucositis include:
Home care measures for mucositis include:
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid hot, spicy and irritating foods.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Maintain good oral and dental hygiene with daily brushing, flossing and regular visits to your dentist.
- Try a soft diet.
- Try Chloraseptic or Cepacol spray, gargles or lozenges.
- Try Orabase B or Oral Balance topical dental paste.
- Try rinsing your mouth or gargling several times a day with a solution of one of the following:
- Salt water
- Baking soda
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) elixir or lozenges
- Dilute chlorhexidine (Peridex or Periogard) solution
- Dilute milk of magnesia or Maalox
- Use any prescribed medications for mucositis as directed. These may include:
Continue to Astrocytoma Taking Control
- Guha A, Mukherjee J. Advances in the biology of astrocytomas. Curr Opin Neurol. 2004 Dec;17(6):655-62. 
- Ichimura K, Ohgaki H, Kleihues P, Collins VP. Molecular pathogenesis of astrocytic tumours. J Neurooncol. 2004 Nov;70(2):137-60. 
- See SJ, Gilbert MR. Anaplastic astrocytoma: diagnosis, prognosis, and management. Semin Oncol. 2004 Oct;31(5):618-34.