Chemotherapy Side Effects
CHEMOTHERAPY SIDE EFFECTS
What are the common side effects that can occur from chemotherapy treatment? They include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss, mouth sores, and pain.
WHAT CAUSES THESE SIDE EFFECTS?
Chemotherapy is designed to kill fast-growing cancer cells. However, it can also affect healthy cells that grow quickly.
These include cells that line the mouth and intestines, cells in the bone marrow that make blood cells and cells that make hair grow. Chemotherapy causes side effects when it harms these healthy cells.
WILL I GET SIDE EFFECTS FROM CHEMOTHERAPY?
You may have a lot of side effects, some or none at all. This depends on the type and amount of chemotherapy you get and how your body reacts. Before you start chemotherapy, talk with your doctor about which side effects to expect.
HOW LONG DO SIDE EFFECTS LAST?
How long side effects last depends on your health and the kind of chemotherapy you get. Most side effects go away after chemotherapy is over. However, sometimes it can take months or even years for them to go away. In some cases, chemotherapy causes long-term side effects that do not go away.
These may include damage to the heart, lungs, nerves, kidneys, or reproductive organs. Some types of chemotherapy may cause a second cancer years later. Ask your doctor about the chances of having long-term side effects from chemotherapy.
WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT SIDE EFFECTS?
Doctors have many ways to prevent or treat chemotherapy side effects and help you heal after each treatment session.
Talk with your doctor about which ones to expect and what to do about them. Make sure to let your doctor know about any changes you notice—they may be signs of a side effect.
SOME COMMON SIDE EFFECTS FROM CHEMOTHERAPY
Mouth and throat changes
Nausea and vomiting
Nervous system changes
Skin and nail changes
Urinary, kidney or bladder changes.