What is sickness?

Sickness is a very unpleasant feeling. A part of the brain called the vomiting centre controls being sick. Not everyone with cancer feels sick or is sick.

Causes of sickness

There could be lots of different reasons why you feel sick, including the cancer itself and its treatment. 

How do you take anti sickness medicines?

There are different ways of having anti sickness medicines. This includes having medicines by mouth, into the bloodstream or as an injection just underneath the skin.

Types of anti sickness medicines

There are different types of medicines used to control sickness (nausea and vomiting) in cancer care. It might take some time to find a combination that works for you.

Side effects of anti sickness medicines

Not everyone will have side effects from anti sickness medicines. Possible side effects include constipation, headaches or feeling drowsy. Possible side effects depend on the medicines you are taking.

Other ways of controlling sickness

Along with anti sickness medication there are other ways to control sickness and make you feel more comfortable.

Controlling sickness in advanced cancer

It is not always possible to cure advanced cancer. But even if your cancer can't be cured, treatment is available to control your sickness and other symptoms. 

Last reviewed: 
15 Nov 2023
Next review due: 
15 Nov 2026

Page Credits: 

This section is written, reviewed and updated by Cancer Research UK’s Patient Information Web Team. Thanks to the expert medical professionals and people affected by cancer who have helped to review this information.

  • Dr Angela Halley (Consultant in Palliative Medicine)
  • our lay reviewers