Unfortunately, cancer and nausea often go hand-in- hand. Cancer can nausea both directly and indirectly.
Tumours themselves can cause someone to feel nauseous, particularly if they’re in the stomach, gut or brain. Tumours that put pressure on these areas can cause persistent nausea. Cancers that obstruct or put pressure on these areas, such as the bowel passage, or brain, can cause persistent nausea. For many, this nausea will be the symptom that first makes them seek a specialist before their diagnosis.
Indirectly, there a multitude of ways that can cause nausea in a cancer setting.
Cancer nausea can also happen for a variety of other reasons. The anxiety of living with chronic illness can instigate a feeling of unease and sickness. Various relaxation techniques like mindfulness and yoga can often help with this type of nausea. Cancer treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy can also be the cause of nausea. If you’re having radiotherapy anywhere near the stomach or the brain, it’s common to experience bouts of nausea following treatment. Chemotherapy can cause someone sickness primarily because the body initially identifies it as something foreign and dangerous triggering the onset of nausea and vomiting. Medications used to manage pain like morphine can also cause a feeling of queasiness and nausea when given in high doses.
Ongoing nausea can be extremely unpleasant. However, in the last ten years there’s been a big surge in the development of anti-emetic drugs (used to treat nausea) that can often help people manage nauseous symptoms following treatment. Whilst these aren’t absolutely effective in everyone, most people will be able to find some level of relief when using anti-emetic drugs.