The words no one wants to hear: “You have cancer.” One may experience many emotions in a short period of time: fear, disbelief, strength, and hope. The fight to live is mentally and physically challenging.

Unfortunately, cancer is one of those diseases where the treatment to cure it can sometimes make the patient sicker than the illness.

The oncologist plans a treatment protocol depending on the type of cancer, which may include chemotherapy and/or radiation, both of which are notorious for unpleasant side effects. Common cancer treatment side effects include nausea, vomiting, mouth ulcers, dry mouth, musculoskeletal and bone pain, skin burns and rashes.

This is where a compounding pharmacist can help.

A compounding pharmacist can customize medicated mouth rinses to address oral pain and ulcers. Some call these “magic mouthwashes,” although there is no one specific formula for this.

  • If a patient cannot hold any food down, including their anti-nausea pills, a compounding pharmacist can make the anti-nausea medicine into a gel or cream that is absorbed through the skin on the wrists.
  • Body pain can be extreme, even described as deep bone pain. A compounding pharmacist can make pain medications into creams that are rubbed into the area(s) affected which can be used in conjunction with or sometimes in lieu of oral pain medication.
  • Skin rashes from some types of chemotherapy and skin burns from radiation are par for the course in cancer treatment. A compounding pharmacist can make soothing topical creams to help alleviate discomfort and begin the skin healing process.

Ask for a compounding pharmacist to be a part of the cancer care team so they can work with the oncologist to customize medications to address treatment side effects when they occur. Compounding pharmacists can be a vital palliative care resource for the physician, nurse and the patient.


P3 is a subsidiary of the Alliance for Pharmacy Compounding. APC is the voice for pharmacy compounding, representing compounding pharmacists and technicians in both 503A and 503B settings, as well as prescribers, educators, researchers, suppliers, and patients.
In traditional compounding, pharmacists create a customized medication, most often from pure ingredients, for an individual patient pursuant to a prescription. Pharmacists’ ability to compound medications from pure ingredients is authorized in federal law and for good reason: manufactured drugs don’t come in strengths and dosage forms that are right for everyone, and prescribers need to be able to prescribe customized medications when, in their judgment, a manufactured drug is not the best course of therapy for a human or animal patient.
Every day, APC members play a critical role in patients’ lives, preparing essential, custom medications for a range of health conditions, including autism, oncology, dermatology, ophthalmology, pediatrics, women’s health, animal health, and others.
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