Q: Is it safe to drink wine during chemotherapy?—Brent, Miami, Fla.
A: Chemotherapy is a powerful drug treatment for cancer. While its side effects can include nausea and an altered sense of taste, oncology experts say that patients can still enjoy wine while undergoing treatment.
However, University of Chicago oncologist Dr. Blase Polite offers patients one piece of cautionary advice: Avoid alcohol the day of and a few days following chemotherapy treatments, as that is typically when people experience the most nausea, which alcohol can exacerbate. Dr. Polite gives the green light to enjoy a glass five days after treatment.
Some chemotherapies can result in sores forming in the mouth. Dr. Polite suggests avoiding high-acid wines in this case. Some patients may also develop a sensitivity to cold drinks as well.
And some patients should avoid drinking altogether. It is unsafe to consume alcohol when taking pain medications such as opioids. Patients suffering from liver cancer should also avoid alcohol. In general, Dr. Polite does not object to moderate wine consumption while undergoing chemotherapy, but he strongly recommends consulting your physician to develop a healthy strategy during the healing process.