Bowel cancer treatment and side effects

You can find lots of useful information about bowel cancer treatment on our website. You can also get information and support from our Ask the nurse service.

JillyD

How much food should you eat before taking Capecitabine?

I am due to start my first cycle of 8 of Capecitabine on Tuesday and during my initial nurse consultation this week was told I must take it within 30 minutes of eating a substantial meal.
This is not a problem for my evening dose but for breakfast I asked for a bit more guidance on what substantial’ means as I don’t tend to have breakfast (I know not good practice) instead having something around 10ish. Having commuted for nearly 30 years i found this worked for me.
I asked if a bowl of porridge would be ok and was told no it needs to be something more substantial like a sandwich. The thought of having a sandwich just before 6am every day for 2 weeks when taking the tablets is not great but as I have learnt since being diagnosed you adapt as you go along and create new norms.
I was wondering what advice others on Capecitabine can give on the types of things they have for breakfast to give me an idea of what worked for them in terms of volume and ease? Sorry if this seems like a silly question but the word ‘substantial’ is playing on my mind for the breakfast dose and I am keen to do this right especially if not having enough to eat before taking the tablet could cause problems with the drug being absorbed. I will ask again at the hospital when I pick up my tablets but any advice people actually taking the drug could give would be very welcome and I know this is definitely the forum to get it. As with everything at the moment small concerns seem to grow into big ones in my head overnight! Thank you.

betty26
Quote from @JillyD:
Thanks @betty26 - that makes more sense to me than what I was told and queried at the hospital . I am so glad I asked the question on this forum of people that have actually taken Capecitabine and who are speaking from experience. I always find porridge quite filling so was very surprised when the nurse said that wasn’t substantial enough.

I was just told to take them with food and 12 hours apart. That was the difficult bit for me, as I don’t like eating my dinner that late. I had breakfast around 7.30 so I could plan my evening meal. Sometimes it didn’t work out but I’m sure the odd hour didn’t matter.
Porridge is good for you, so I think you’re doing jus fine.

Bear G

Hi @betty26
There was another thread recently about timing of capcitabine tablets. A lot of people do the same as me - just taking it with breakfast and evening meal, and not worrying too much about exact timing.
I’d always suggest checking with the chemo team though.
Big hugs
Bear
:x::x:

KathG70

Hi @JillyD , very late to the party,Like @Lucie I’m nearing the end of Cycle 2 of 8 on Wednesday. No one mentioned anything to me besides telling to to take them 10 to 12 hours apart. I eat either porridge , fruit &fibre and sometimes I make a smoothie.
One question to everyone do you wait a certain time before you take them after eating . I tend to take mine straight after finishing my meal. I just want to get it over with. I think I have got quite a good rhythm going swallowing my 5 tablets.
Take care
Best wishes
Kath 💜 :x::x:

Lucie

Hi @JillyD and @KathG70 I take mine as soon as I finish my breakfast, but take my evening one about an hour after dinner, just so the timings work. As long as i feel there is something in my stomach, it all feels fine.

bowelbehavingbadly

@Lucie @JillyD @KathG70 I take my tablets about 15 mins after cereal am. Then about 30 mins after main meal. Although I had a couple of hours yesterday where I ate meal early and then just had a couple of crackers before tablets. I agree with Lucie as long as something in stomach I feel ok.

KathG70

Hi @Lucie & @bowelbehavingbadly thanks. I think I’m worrying to much about when I take them. I think I’ll try and wait 15 minutes after I’ve eaten.
On the first cycle I got an upset tummy and was going to the loo more in the second week.
This time it’s a little worse and today I’ve had to start taking the Loperamide and and Buscopan. I have a telephone appointment on Monday the 25th so will speak to them about this, as I’m on I think the max dose 5000mg , maybe it needs tweaking a little. They way I feel today another 6 cycles seems a long time.
Hope you both are doing ok
Take care stay save
Love Kath 💜 :x::x:

bowelbehavingbadly

Gosh @KathG70 I’m on 4000mg. 4x 500mg am and again pm. Wonder why you are on 5000mg? @Lucie are you on similar dose. @KathG70 Do you have a 24hr helpline to call. I’ve been told to call with any problems and maybe if you can you should run how you feel past them. In terms of running to toilet with my bag it’s hard to tell but I am very loose compared to how I was pre chemo. I hope your tummy settles soon. Maybe wee hot water bottle to help any cramps. ❤️❤️

KathG70

@bowelbehavingbadly , thank you. I’m not sure why I’m on the high dose. I will have to ask next Monday.
The only thing I can think of is my Cancer was in the small bowel Jejunum part and it is very rare.
From what I understand is Certain cancers, such as adenocarcinomas of the small intestine, aren’t very responsive to the chemotherapy drugs currently in existence, but the consensus is they treat it with Capecitabine So maybe that’s why they through the whole hog at it.😃
The grippy tummy thankfully only lasts till I’ve been to the loo.
I do have numbers to call if I need too, though the time I rang about my eyes they told me to see my GP. 😀
Well you take care
Only two days to my week off yippee
Love Kath 💜 :x::x:

bowelbehavingbadly

Two days until two cycles down. Well done you. :x::x::x::x::x:

Quote from @KathG70:
@bowelbehavingbadly , thank you. I’m not sure why I’m on the high dose. I will have to ask next Monday.
The only thing I can think of is my Cancer was in the small bowel Jejunum part and it is very rare.
From what I understand is Certain cancers, such as adenocarcinomas of the small intestine, aren’t very responsive to the chemotherapy drugs currently in existence, but the consensus is they treat it with Capecitabine So maybe that’s why they through the whole hog at it.😃
The grippy tummy thankfully only lasts till I’ve been to the loo.
I do have numbers to call if I need too, though the time I rang about my eyes they told me to see my GP. 😀
Well you take care
Only two days to my week off yippee
Love Kath 💜

adnil

First time round in 2018 just told to take 30mins after food. My breakfast was either bowl porridge made with milk, croissants and jam or on some days 3 or 4 biscuits. That was good enough. :x::x:

acrorat

My Chemo Nurse suggested eating porridge in place of toast or a sandwich lo

Lucie

@bowelbehavingbadly I am on the same as you - 4,000mg per day. @KathG70 Good you have a phone appointment on Monday and can discuss your tummy issues. It might well be that they tweak your dose. Will be thinking of you. :x::x:

Quote from @bowelbehavingbadly:
Gosh @KathG70 I’m on 4000mg. 4x 500mg am and again pm. Wonder why you are on 5000mg? @Lucie are you on similar dose. @KathG70 Do you have a 24hr helpline to call. I’ve been told to call with any problems and maybe if you can you should run how you feel past them. In terms of running to toilet with my bag it’s hard to tell but I am very loose compared to how I was pre chemo. I hope your tummy settles soon. Maybe wee hot water bottle to help any cramps. ❤️❤️

betty26
Quote from @Bear G:
Hi @betty26
There was another thread recently about timing of capcitabine tablets. A lot of people do the same as me - just taking it with breakfast and evening meal, and not worrying too much about exact timing.
I’d always suggest checking with the chemo team though.
Big hugs
Bear

I think because they seem to emphasise on taking them 12 hours apart, we worry if we don’t. Towards the end I got a bit more relaxed about the whole thing. Thanks for the tips. 💕

jupiter20

I tend to have a large bowl of Rice Krispies in the morning followed by my capecitabine tabs.

bowelbehavingbadly

Same here @jupiter20’. :x:

Quote from @jupiter20:
I tend to have a large bowl of Rice Krispies in the morning followed by my capecitabine tabs.

jupiter20

Sometimes I add a cheeky bit of maple syrup as well. ;)

TomCayman

I have just started on 8 cycles of capecitabine only (pT1 n1 m0 and advised CAPOX could be considered over treatment).

Head nurse at chemo day centre, when briefing me, said that as long as I eat something or does t have to be a full meal. Also to eat within an hour of each 12 hour window.

For me breakfast timing is easy but I often eat earlier than (say) 8pm, so helped to understand I can eat dinner early the. Have a snack before my tablets.

Oh, I’m 189cm tall and 92kg so on 5500mg per day, 11 tablets 😉

Only on day 2 so far…and all well so far.

Liz Blakelands

@TomCayman Hi and welcome to the forum but sorry that you find yourself here. The CAPOX regime does introduce a fixed meal system which is quite strange at first. As the cycles go on you get more used to it but it is a relief on non chemo weeks when you can eat when you want to.

All the best with the chemo
Liz

Mark McC

Hi @JillyD

I found a couple of rounds of toast and a large mug of tea at breakfast sufficient for my morning tablets. Like you say the term substantial is easier to equate to an evening meal.

All the best with the chemo.

Alanj

Hi All, for me i found a pack of belvita biscuits or a pot of add water porridge was sufficient with taking the tabs