Side-effects of Chemotherapy
The following is a list taken from WWW.CANCER.NET. I recommend you go to that site and listen to the video. The lady lists the many drugs that are used to battle the side-effects of chemotherapy. But for now, here is the list they have on their site:
Common side effectsDifferent drugs cause different side effects. Certain types of chemotherapy have common side effects. But each person’s experience is different.
Tell your doctor about all side effects that you notice. Typically, having side effects doesn’t mean the treatment isn’t working. But certain side effects of drugs called targeted therapies may cause concern. Learn more about targeted therapy.
Below is a list of common side effects of traditional chemotherapy:
Fatigue. This is a persistent feeling of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion. Cancer-related fatigue differs from feeling tired due to lack of rest. Receiving multiple treatment types may increase your fatigue. For example, having chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Learn more about how to cope with fatigue.
Pain. Chemotherapy sometimes causes these types of pain:
Mouth and throat sores. Chemotherapy can damage mouth and throat cells. This causes painful sores, a condition called mucositis. It usually happens 5 to 14 days after a treatment. Mouth sores usually go away completely when treatment ends.
To prevent infection of mouth sores, eat a healthy diet. Also keep your mouth and teeth clean. Learn more about managing mucositis and oral health during cancer treatment.
Diarrhea. This means having loose or watery bowel movements. Prevention and early treatment helps limit dehydration, which is the loss of too much body fluid. It also helps prevent other health problems. Learn more about managing diarrhea.
Nausea and vomiting. These side effects may appear, depending on the specific drug and dose. Typically, medications given before and after each dose of chemotherapy limit nausea and vomiting. Learn more about nausea and vomiting and read ASCO’s guideline for preventing these side effects.
Constipation. This means having infrequent or difficult bowel movements. Other medications, such as pain medication, also cause constipation. To lower your risk, drink enough fluids, eat balanced meals, and exercise. Learn more about managing constipation.
Blood disorders. Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside your bones. It makes new blood cells. But chemotherapy affects this process. Therefore, you may experience side effects from having too few blood cells.
Your health care team uses the following tests to check for blood disorders:
Nervous system effects. Some drugs cause nerve damage. Nerve or muscle symptoms may include the following:
Changes in thinking and memory. Some people have trouble thinking clearly and concentrating after chemotherapy. Cancer survivors often call this chemo brain. Your doctor might call it cognitive changes or cognitive dysfunction.
Sexual and reproductive issues. Chemotherapy can affect your fertility. For women, this is the ability to get pregnant and carry a pregnancy. For men, fertility is the ability to father a child. In addition, fatigue and other side effects can affect your ability to enjoy sex. Talk with your doctor about these possibilities before treatment starts. Learn more about managing sexual and reproductive side effects.
Chemotherapy can harm an unborn baby. Particularly within the first 3 months of pregnancy. During that time, organs are still developing. If you could become pregnant, use effective birth control. If you become pregnant, tell your doctor right away. Learn more about pregnancy and cancer.
Appetite loss. This symptom may take various forms. You may:
Hair loss. Some types of chemotherapy cause hair loss. It may come out gradually or in large clumps. Hair loss usually starts after several weeks of chemotherapy. It tends to increase 1 to 2 months into treatment. Your doctor can predict the risk of hair loss based on the drugs and doses you will receive. Learn more about managing hair loss.
Radiation recall. Radiation recall is a rash that looks like a severe sunburn. Although rare, it occurs when certain types of chemotherapy are given during or soon after external beam radiation therapy.
The rash appears on the part of the body that received radiation therapy. Symptoms may include redness, tenderness, swelling, wet sores, and peeling skin.
Typically, radiation recall appears days or weeks after you receive radiation therapy. It can also appear months or years later. Doctors treat radiation recall with medications called corticosteroids. Rarely, you may wait until the skin heals before continuing chemotherapy.
Long-term side effects. Most side effects go away after treatment. But some continue, come back, or develop later. Some types of chemotherapy may permanently damage the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and/or the reproductive system. Sometimes, cognitive changes may last for months or years after treatment.
Nervous system changes can also develop after treatment. Children who had chemotherapy may develop side effects months or years after treatment. These are called late effects. Cancer survivors also have a higher risk of second cancers later in life.
On November 1, 2010, I was diagnosed with Stage Four Non-Hodgkins T-cell Lymphoma when my oncologist found a tumor in my head. He gave me radiation for this tumor, which continued to light up on all the PET scans for the rest of my treatments, but the growth had stopped. Within a year-and-a-half I was given eight rounds of chemo (including 22-hour bags and other numerous amounts of smaller injections of chemo that are innumerable—nearly bleeding to death twice), 35 treatments of radiation, a stem-cell transplant (which included "enough chemo to kill a healthy person"—my oncologist liked to say—along with full-body radiation), and numerous amounts of drugs and one magnesium vitamin.