how do you fast before Chemo? I have a drug to take that requires food with it "DEXAMETHASONE" ~~

I told my doctor...that I was going to fast at least 36 hours before and also the day of my chemo and he said it wasn't necessary. I've read so much including from the NIH about how good it is for best results. My question is...I have been given a pill to take 12 hours before and 3 hours before(the dexamethasone)...and it says to take it with food or milk. I was going to do it with milk. Isn't this going to mess up my "fasting state" I am trying to be in? did you have this issue...??? how are the other people out there handling this? P.S. I've been without food since 7:30 last night...(so appx 19 hours) and I am STARVING. hope I can make it....

29 Replies

  • I did not fast and had not heard anything regarding that. I did take Dex. the day before, day of, and day after. Made me a touch sarcastic and wired (my wife and kids were glad when it had worn off). I do not think I could have gotten by without eating. Good Luck.

  • it's already not easy...but I don't mind a challenge. I just did a little chicken broth...since someone told me that was okay. I'll have a little more later in the's amazing that it helps...(with almost no calories) to quieten the stomach! ~~John

  • I asked My Oncologist about that, She said you need the energy from food. I will ask a specialist next week. I take dex twice day before , twice day of and twice day after chemo. The dex sure helps, though you may be up finding projects at 2 am. Are you going to ice your fingers and feet to prevent nueropathy and the fingernail problem?

  • Wow, it's great getting to compare "notes". I asked my Oncologist AND his nurse about the icing and they said it wasn't necessary. I said I had read that it was good..and they said it was available if I wanted let them know when I go in. I am definitely going to do it...I want to make everything as smooth as possible. Did you do research on the fasting? if you google the words "fasting Chemo and NIH" you'll probably get what the NIH says about it. If you put in "prostate cancer, fasting, and chemo". you'll get studies. I'm amazed my doctor and others aren't aware of it...I'm with a doctor at University of Miami and they are doing a lot of research...It's very interesting how it's supposed to make the treatment work better AND make the side effects much less horrible. I'm at my 24 hour mark with only a cup of broth and a 1/2 cup of fat free milk to swallow the Dex with. By the way..I only do 2 pills 12 hours before and 2 pills 3 hours before. They told me to do 2 at 7pm this evening and 2 at 7 pm treatment is at 10ish. Thanks for you input!~~John

  • I did read something somewhere about fasting when I started, I am now through 12 cycles ,never had fingernail prob or nueropathy, although I may have just a bit in feet, not a problem though , I did ice brought my own gel ice and elastogel frozen chemo gloves on feet and fingers . I take 8 mg (2 -4 mg pills) of dex twice a day, day before day of and day after, white blood cells were between 14.5 and 20 day of chemo always and other numbers good .Be sure someone is watching you closely through the first 20 minutes of chemo, as if if you have alergic reaction ( increased breathing and turn red flush in face) It will most likely be then. I wish you the best for your treatment in the morn and keep us posted. Dan

  • I thought chemo stats with you for a bit. So...when you thaw hands and feet...doesn't that open capillaries even more so and let chemo still in blood exactly where you're trying to stop it from going?

  • Stays not stats

  • I suppose, but may be most concentrated when first infused, before mixing with the blood, not my original idea, I got it from a previous list of men who had success using ice, as I did. I would rather be proactive,and know I did what I could to prevent it, rather than end up with severe nueropathy and wonder why I did not try it. Through 12 docetaxol, no nueropathy or rotton fingernails and no mouthsores, just very minor Nueropathy in toes

  • It is something that I thought about also...but everyone (on here) has had very good luck with the icing. It's NOT pleasant though. It actually was the most unpleasant part of my day. No other pain, burning, nausea. No anything except the freezing cold of ice on finger tips and toes...yipes! My fingers were the worst...they started out freezing and then felt like they were burning. I'm using the many people I have heard from on here to make my decision to of the day...for my first day of chemo...I've had a GREAT day all day since...hand the injection at 1's after 11 pm now and I'm still going and I had a full day....hardware store, two thrift shops to make donations and shop a bit...and then walks with dog ....dinner...and now I'm about to go watch recorded news. I haven't had any pain, nausea, NOTHING (just the cold on my fingers). I also was fasting for almost 3 I ended the fast tonite with a Denny's breakfast. I wasn't even that hungry, but it tasted great (still, luckily). **p.s. I worry about losing my taste for food. It my true

  • Hang in there greatjohn! Would not fast more than 2 days per week during treatment. If not bearable, stop,because it’s true that you do need to keep some strength. If you hang with it in believe of better results on the other side of treatment. I believe you’ll benefit .None of this is easy. As you know .

  • Thanks, I'll post on here after it's "done"....I have two people going with me for the ordeal!, btw.

  • Good luck tomorrow!

  • I iced my fingernails after I noticed some damage (discoloration) at the nail beds after four rounds. Seems to help.

  • been fasting for appx 36 hours. Seems to get easier (if that's possible) 1st chemo session starts in appx 6 hours ...but I have to be at the hospital in 4. Feel lucky I got almost 5 hours of sleep ...straight through before I woke up at 3 am and couldn't get back to sleep. What a journey!

  • In addition to icing, you might look into using saline eye drops frequently during infusion. I have read of patients having tear duct scarring that closes off the ducts and results in chronic dry eye.

  • Thanks.. I'll check it out

  • take it with food or milk. the dexamethasone is a's to keep the chemo from destroying your organs...kidneys, specifically, i believe. i also helps with the chemo nausea.

  • docetaxel causes the cells in the lining of your stomach to slough off. i would keep them full of protective food as long as nausea is not a problem for you.

  • John, I didn't fast during my chemo treatments. My onc said you need the energy. My chemo would be at 10:00 am and I would eat oatmeal or toast before each treatment. During chemo, the nurses often ask if I wanted a light snack like crackers, cookies and I did because I was starving. I was also taking prednisone 5mg twice a day to combat the side effects. Fatigue was the main one. I forced myself to get up and walk and did light stretches. I was also given compazine for the nausea but I drank ginger tea instead and it worked. From my perspective and my onc, there is no need to fast. You need the energy so I recommend you eat something healthy of course. Keep us posted on your progress.


  • I eat before and during the Chemo treatments. I get both Docetaxel and Carboplatin along with anti-nausea drugs. I use ice on hands and feet during the Docetaxel only, and then I have a hot hero sandwich when the Carboplatin is infused. Since I have a mediport it is easy to eat while the Carboplatin is infused.

    Ice is considered to be a treatment which patients have found to be effective but has not been studied by research. Since no one is going to pay for such a study, you just have to take it on faith that it works. My Doctor and the Chemo nurses say that many patients use it and say that it works but they do not have any studies to show that it does.

  • Good Morning Greatjohn,

    Had first chemo (Docetaxel and Carboplatin) 10 days ago.

    My Med Onc put me on B-6, 100mg daily for the life of chemo cycles to reduce risk of neuropathy. I also ice hands and feet. Asked about fasting and he said No.

    Best wishes. Never Give In.

  • I just saw a webinar from "the truth about cancer" yesterday and they had 5 to 6 doctors and PHD's who specialized in nutrition and cancer and all of them recommended some type of fasting weekly combined with vegetable juicing, low carb diet, no sugars what so ever, a positive attitude, cannabinoids and exercise. Nutrition is very important in our fight against cancer and all junk foods and high carb foods should be totally eliminated. You should be getting your carbs from vegetables.

    You can go to "" if you want more information. I have gone through all the oral chemo's, taxotere and jevtana, lupron etc. and I am still battling my PScancer and I am definitely changing my diet and exercising more.

    Good Luck All and fight the good fight.


  • John, How was chemo today?

  • Hey Dan...

    wow. I was there with my entourage (my partner and a friend) from 8 am until 2 pm...and I had done the fasting for almost 2 days before...and I did a couple of Marijuana oil drops under my tongue before I left at 7 am...and during I made them ice my fingers and toes (it was very uncomfortable on the fingers..felt cold then felt like they were burning). However..I have not had one bit of unpleasant feeling other than the icing....the injection sight is burning there before during nausea, no pains...I felt a little dreamy/high/drowsy after they gave me an infusion of Benadryl...which was GREAT. They kept offering me food...which my entourage ate in front of me ...LOL. I ate nothing. We left at 2 pm and I got home and made lunch for the two of them and then went to Lowe's for some paint and other needs to touch up a house we own...and then went thrift shopping to two stores and dropped some donations off as well. Came home and walked the dog (about 6/10 of a mile) with my partner...then decided we would go for dinner and I'd break my fast. Went for a Denny's breakfast...home now and just starting to feel a little tired...but overall...if Chemo could be like this it was "dreamy". I'm assuming tomorrow some rough patches might develop or the next day...but the first day was a joy! I go back on the 20th for my next 3month Lupron shot and back on the 27th for my second day of ALL-day being there for my Chemo again. Life is Beautiful!


  • Sounds good John, I am glad it went well.

  • Thanks everyone for the tips on the icing. I will remember that for my husband's next round of chemo. He really disliked the neuropathy SE. He also found that chemo "hit" about 4-5 days after the infusion, for about 3 days. He still did pretty well (Taxotere only) although increasingly tired in the "down days" of each session. It seems to build up. The steroid does add a lot of weird energy . . . he sometimes used Ambien to be able to settle down.

    Best wishes for a smooth trip through chemo, John -- and anyone else who's currently dealing with it.

  • Thanks Caring7 ! ~~ I had a bad night (for sleep last night) but actually feeling 80% human this morning ! (my chemo was 4 days ago now) ~~the icing is I said AND I had to insist on it...they didn't think it was necessary at University Of Miami where I am having treatment. I'm trying to stay one top of things!


  • Don’t be too strick. 500 calorie day is considered a fast .You must take meds with foods. You can make some kind of liquid veggie & protein will be weak and spaced. I liked water melon or apples.a lot of water is necessary ..maybe a piece of toast with meds Ezekiel bread is the best. If fasting is crazy too difficult do your best .If you can stand it, I think it helps. Western docs think in a box. I’ve taken so many alternative measures because I figure that if there’s a chance that something will work I’ll try it. With some luck and a lot of work and pain we can keep this monkey from stomping us right now. Good luck in these treatments .You are strong Enough to do this .

  • I fasted during RT.Stage 4 non op .no visible signs for more than a yr now. That’s what you want also. Was fasting the only alternative path that I took? Of course not. High dose IV’ of C& B’s, dmso, no sugar or or processed food. I used to eat at Denny’s tautly But now all organic makes that not possible. I suggested fa and live. I’m under the care of a naturalpathic Onocologist His name is Dr. Michael Uzick in TucAz. I know people that he has saved and I feel that if I hadn’t made drastic dietary and nutritional changes that I would not be here today at least not in as acceptable shape as I’m in. I’m not saying I’m cured by any means. Drs and people will tell you “Oh that doesn’t work or this doesn’t work. Well I’m telling you from my experience that you should follow your own path. Don’t listen to naesayers.a prostate cancer specialist is mandatory for conventional treatments but you should really put good things in your body from now on to try to counter act the side effects that none of us are immune to.

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