Cancer treatment and nausea and vomiting

Feeling sick (nausea), with or without vomiting, is a possible side effect of cancer or its treatment. Vomiting sometimes follows nausea and may be brought on by treatment, stress, food odours, gas in the stomach or bowel, or motion sickness. The following information may help:

Stage 1 Small sips

If you have persistent vomiting, don’t try to force food down. Sip small amounts of liquid as often as possible. Try dry ginger ale, cold flat lemonade, soda water, Lucozade or chilled tomato juice. You might also find it helpful to suck a hard lolly, flavoured crushed ice cubes or an iceblock. If you can’t keep fluids down, and vomiting lasts for more than 24 hours, see your doctor because you may become dehydrated.

Stage 2 Introduce drinks slowly

If your vomiting has stopped, but you still feel nauseated and full, it is important to eat small, frequent meals. Hunger, or an empty stomach, can aggravate or prolong nausea. Start by drinking cold or iced drinks. Make up drinks that are half milk (or skim milk) and half water (or soda water). These mixtures are surprisingly settling and soothing. If you like sweet drinks, try a spoonful of ice cream in a glass of lemonade. You can also try diluted fruit drinks, Bonox, clear broth and weak tea. Jellies can be satisfying too.

Stage 3 Introduce solid foods

When you feel you can drink without discomfort, eat small amounts of solid foods, such as plain dry biscuits, toast or bread with honey, jam, Vegemite or Marmite. Try jelly and cooked cereals (such as lemon sago or boiled rice), and then try soft stewed fruits, such as apples, pears or peaches. Start drinking milk gradually and in small amounts, or try yoghurt, which is more easily digested. Have food in small amounts and have something to eat or drink at regular intervals.

Stage 4 Return to normal diet

As soon as you can, increase your food intake until your eating returns to a good level. Your doctor or dietitian may advise you to take additional nourishment (perhaps supplements) on your good days to make up for the days when you can’t eat properly.You may find the following foods difficult to tolerate when nauseous, so you may need to limit them (however it’s sometimes trial and error):

  • fatty or fried foods such as meats, fish, eggs or spicy stews and casseroles
  • full–cream milk, cream, strong cheese, dripping, lard, oils, dressings or mayonnaise
  • rich soup with cream or fat
  • potatoes cooked in fat, roast potatoes or potato chips
  • scones, pastry, rich cakes or cream cakes
  • chocolate biscuits, chocolate–coated nuts or peanut butter
  • filling foods, such as pasta, especially with spicy or oily sauces.
This information was last reviewed in June 2013

This information has been reviewed by: Jenelle Loeliger, Head – Nutrition Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Kate Aigner, Cancer Information Consultant, Cancer Council Helpline ACT; Ian Anderson, Consumer; Anna Boltong, PhD Candidate (Dietitian), Department of Cancer Experiences Research, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Clare Hughes, Nutrition Program Manager, Cancer Council NSW; Bridget Kehoe, Public Health Coordinator (Nutrition and Physical Activity), Cancer Council QLD; Steve Pratt, Nutrition and Physical Activity Manager, Cancer Council WA; and Roswitha Stegmann, Helpline Nurse, Cancer Council WA.

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Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.