Dry mouth and mouth sores that form on the tongue, lips, gums, or in the throat can make it difficult to chew and swallow. Your health care team can help you prevent or treat many side effects. Your muscles may feel tired, achy, or shaky. These are called late effects. These powerful drugs can also harm cells along the gastrointestinal tract. White blood cells play an important role in the immune system. Talk to your doctor about antinausea medications to reduce vomiting during treatment. Most people lose some bone mass as they age, but with chemo, some drugs increase this loss by causing calcium levels to drop. Some types of chemotherapy cause hair loss all over your body. Chemotherapy drugs may cause problems with memory, or make it difficult to concentrate or think clearly. Food may taste unusual or unpleasant, leading to unintentional weight loss from not eating. You might even have a metallic taste in the mouth, or a yellow or white coating on your tongue. It can happen all at once or come on slowly. But during treatment, low numbers of blood cells can cause problems and must be watched closely. This test uses ultrasound waves to create a moving picture of the heart. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For women, this is the ability to get pregnant and carry a pregnancy. Some chemotherapy causes loose or watery bowel movements. Whether you have these side effects, and how much, depends on the specific drugs and dose. If the pain is related to chemotherapy, doctors can treat it by: Blocking pain signals from the nerves to the brain with spinal treatments or nerve blocks. Depression is a common feeling as well, as people juggle work, family, and financial responsibilities on top of cancer treatment. Chemotherapy treats many types of cancer effectively. Trusted, compassionate information for people with cancer and their families and caregivers, from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the voice of the world’s cancer physicians and oncology professionals. This may cause a number of side effects. New hair growth usually begins several weeks after the final treatment. Fatigue is feeling tired or exhausted almost all the time. Watch the Cancer.Net Video Managing Side Effects of Chemotherapy, with Jyoti D. Patel, MD, adapted from this content. For most types of chemotherapy, side effects do not show how well treatment is working. Learn more about managing sexual and reproductive side effects. Nervous system effects. Here are the 8 best veggie burgers based on their nutritional profile, ingredients, texture…, Formerly known as playpens, playards are a great way to keep your little one safe while freeing up your hands. Fatigue. This is especially true in the first 3 months of pregnancy, when the organs are still developing. Some of the most common side effects of chemotherapy affect digestion. For men, fertility is the ability to make a woman pregnant. This raises your risk of getting infections. How the side effects of chemo manifest for each person may depend on other factors, such as age or existing health conditions. Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI, The 8 Best Veggie Burgers for Your Meat-Free Routine, The 11 Best Meal Planning Apps to Help You Lose Weight, The 5 Best Calorie Counter Websites and Apps, The 10 Best Weight Loss Apps That Help You Meet Your Goals, The Pregnancy Bras You'll Wish You Had Sooner. For example, some types of chemotherapy may cause permanent damage to the heart, lung, liver, kidneys, or reproductive system. You can bleed and bruise more easily than normal. As chemotherapy kills cancer cells, it can damage some of your healthy cells as well. Learn more about how chemotherapy affects your body. While symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, and hormonal fluctuations may interfere with sex drive in both men and women, many people on chemotherapy are still able to have active sex lives. You may also lose muscle mass and strength. Be sure to take special precautions to avoid sunburn when outdoors, such as wearing sunscreen or long-sleeves. CancerCare: Understanding and Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects, National Cancer Institute: Chemotherapy and You. Many doctors do not advise getting pregnant during treatment. This causes painful sores in these areas, a condition called mucositis. In the process, some kidney and bladder cells can become irritated or damaged. Learn more about heart problems from cancer treatment. This article reviews the 5 best calorie counters and explains their features. If this happens, you need antibiotics as soon as possible. Osteoporosis increases the risk of bone fractures and breaks. Hair loss usually starts after the first several weeks of chemotherapy. These include cells in your blood, mouth, digestive system, and hair follicles. This is called follow-up care. Nausea and vomiting. Learn about how to cope with fatigue. Hair loss is perhaps the most infamous side effect of chemo treatments. A Pap test gathers a sample of cells from the cervix. Symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Chemotherapy sometimes causes pain. It is very easy to count calories with help from website and apps. Medications used to treat the side effects of chemotherapy (such as sleeping aids and anti-nausea medications) can also cause these problems. Why’s Your Poop Brown and What Can Cause Color Changes? You may experience different side effects during cancer treatment. Preventing and treating side effects is called palliative care or supportive care. When your white blood cells are low, getting an infection can be serious. Long-term side effects from surgery depend on the type of cancer and where in the body you had surgery. The central nervous system controls emotions, thought patterns, and coordination. Some chemo drugs may even increase your risk for heart attack. But no matter how severe, these effects are noticeable for each individual. Talk with your doctor about these possible side effects before treatment starts. Some types of chemotherapy can affect your heart. Doctors and scientists work constantly to develop drugs, drug combinations, and ways of giving treatment with fewer side effects. The drugs help your bone marrow make more blood cells. It might be brief or last a long time. The chance of developing vaginal infections also increases. While emotional side effects are common, there are also ways to reduce them. Cancer-related osteoporosis tends to affect women more than men, especially post-menopausal women and those whose menopause was brought on suddenly due to chemotherapy. ASCO has cancer treatment summary forms to help you keep track of the cancer treatment you received and develop a survivorship plan after treatment. It’s important to continue eating healthy foods. Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in your body.Chemotherapy is most often used to treat cancer, since cancer cells grow and multiply much more quickly than most cells in the body.Many different chemotherapy drugs are available. You can lower your risk of constipation by drinking enough fluids, eating balanced meals, and getting enough exercise. No matter what side effects chemo causes, it’s possible to take steps to increase your quality of life during treatment. Some people have trouble thinking clearly and concentrating after chemotherapy. Nausea is a common symptom and may result in vomiting. Living with cancer and dealing with chemotherapy can take an emotional toll. They often hear about how terrible chemotherapy side effects are and how sick you can feel. Chemotherapy can cause constipation. These conditions can affect your heart’s ability to pump blood effectively. Sometimes the drug causing the nerve damage has to be stopped. This way, doctors can tell if treatment causes problems later. Pain. Hair loss. And some may never go away. Download ASCO's free 1-page fact sheets on Understanding Chemotherapy and Oral Chemotherapy. Learn more about managing hair loss. The thought of having chemotherapy frightens many people. Nail growth may also slow down as nails become ridged or brittle and start to crack or break easily. Hair loss can occur anywhere on the body, from eyebrows and eyelashes to your legs. You might eat less than usual, not feel hungry at all, or feel full after eating a small amount. Keep reading: What to expect from chemo », Magnesium for anxiety is one benefit of this important mineral. In some cases, depending on the reactions your body is having, your doctor may need to adjust the type or dose of the chemotherapy. This can cause the following nerve or muscle symptoms: Weakness or numbness in the hands, feet, or both, Problems seeing, hearing, or walking normally. Side effects happen when chemotherapy damages these healthy cells. Preventing diarrhea or treating it early helps keep you from getting dehydrated (losing too much body fluid). As the drugs affect your integumentary system, your fingernails and toenails may turn brown or yellow. These symptoms usually get better with a lower chemotherapy dose or after treatment. This test measures the number of platelets in your blood. All rights reserved. They may be able to suggest a local cancer support group where you can speak with others undergoing cancer treatment. Tell your doctor about all the side effects you notice. Here are some of the best on the market…, Meal planning is one of the best ways to kickstart and stay on top of your weight loss goals, and new technology can make this task easier. After all, chemotherapy is one of the most common and most powerful forms of cancer treatment. One notable example is heart damage following treatment with Adriamycin (doxorubicin).With this drug, a possible long-term side … You may also develop sensitivity to the sun and be susceptible to burns. The most common areas of the body to suffer breaks are the spine and pelvis, hips, and wrists. Cancer survivors also have a higher risk of second cancers later in life. Nearly any treatment can cause late effects, and these late effects are specific to the treatment you received. But chemotherapy does a lot more than get rid of cancer. You may also feel pressure, bloating, and gas around the abdomen. After receiving a cancer diagnosis, your first reaction may be to ask your doctor to sign you up for chemotherapy. It can also give you a better sense of control over your cancer treatment. Damage to healthy cells may cause side effects, such as mouth sores, nausea, and hair loss. That’s because the drugs can harm cells in the bone marrow, where red blood cells are produced. If you do get pregnant, tell your doctor right away. There can be other reasons for pain besides the chemotherapy, such as the cancer itself. © 2005-2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). It makes new blood cells. Minor skin irritations like dryness, itchiness, and rash are also possible. The doses of chemotherapy can often be adjusted to prevent low blood counts. Side Effects of Cancer Treatment - National Cancer Institute It’s important to take good care of your nails to avoid infection. People with cancer are often concerned with what chemotherapy side effects are going to occur during their treatment. Be sure to discuss any side effects you’re experiencing with your doctor. And your reflexes and small motor skills may slow down. It tends to increase 1 to 2 months into treatment. Chemotherapy can also harm an unborn baby, called a fetus. Not enough white blood cells causes a condition called leukopenia. The side effects of chemotherapy differ from person to person. These can vary depending on your cancer type, stage and the kind of treatment you are undergoing. This symptom sometimes is called “chemo fog,” or “chemo brain.” This mild cognitive impairment may go away following treatment or may linger for years. Eating a healthy diet and keeping your mouth and teeth clean can lower your risk of mouth sores. Learn more about managing appetite loss. National Cancer Institute: "Nausea and Vomiting;" "Hair Loss;" "Skin and Nail Changes;" and "Fatigue." Chemo can also lower your white blood cell count (neutropenia). But some continue, come back, or develop later. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), women treated for breast cancer are at increased risk for osteoporosis and bone fracture. Chemotherapy can cause side effectsbecause in addition to killing fast-growing cancer cells, the drugs can also harm rapidly dividing cells that make up the hair follicles, skin, and lining of the digestive tract. Not enough red blood cells causes a condition called anemia. All rights reserved worldwide, When to Call the Doctor During Cancer Treatment, managing sexual and reproductive side effects. Talk with your doctor if you have trouble coping. You can lessen these symptoms by avoiding dehydration by drinking plenty of water during the day. Talk with your doctor about any concerns you have about a specific late effect.Problems from surgery. While chemotherapy destroys cancer cells, it is the damage to healthy cells that causes many of the common side effects of chemotherapy. Order printed copies of both fact sheets from the ASCO Store. Cancer cells are active, but so are some healthy cells. Appetite loss. In some people, it never completely goes away. As a result, weight loss, general weakness, and a lack of energy are common. Long-term side effects. This is due to the combination of the drugs and a natural drop in estrogen levels. They help prevent illnesses and fight infections. Most side effects go away after treatment. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. Chemotherapy drugs are known to alter hormones in both men and women. Here are…. But knowing what chemotherapy is, how it works, and what to expect can often help calm your fears. Mouth sores usually happen 5 to 14 days after a treatment. Mouth sores usually go away completely when treatment ends. It may come out a little at a time or in large clumps. Learn more: Alternative treatments for osteoporosis ». Along with chemotherapy, patients sometimes receive monoclonal antibodies, a relatively new type of cancer treatment. Diarrhea. But damage is sometimes permanent. Below is a list of common side effects of traditional chemotherapy. Severe cases can even add to existing anxiety and stress. Other medicines, such as pain medication, can also cause constipation. Mouth sores also make you more susceptible to bleeding and infection. The kidneys work to excrete the powerful chemotherapy drugs as they move through your body. Routine blood count monitoring is a crucial part of chemotherapy. The most common side effect is … Cancer Care: "Possible Side Effects of Chemotherapy" and "Combating Chemo Brain." Integumentary system (skin, hair, and nails), The Best Baby Toothpaste to Shine Up Those Sweet Smiles. And some people have trouble with thinking, concentrating, and memory for months or years after treatment. It can also come and go. This pain can … More than 2 million people around the world are diagnosed with cancer each year. Drugs are also available to treat these blood disorders. Children who had chemotherapy may develop side effects that happen months or years after treatment. Share on Pinterest. Made in the laboratory, monoclonal antibodies bind to proteins on the surface of can… They do this by plugging damaged blood vessels and helping blood form clots. Side effects involving the digestive system can contribute to loss of appetite and feeling full even though you haven’t eaten much. It also helps prevent other health problems. Constipation. Some studies show older women with breast cancer tend to have more cognitive problems after chemotherapy … In severe cases, they can actually separate from the nail bed. Chemotherapy (chemo) is the use of medicines or drugs to treat cancer. Usually the number of blood cells return to normal after chemotherapy is complete. Platelets are cells that stop bleeding. But each person’s experience is different. Oral chemotherapy and chemotherapy by infusion have the same symptoms and side effects. When choosing shoes for new walkers, there's a lot to consider. You may feel fearful, stressed, or anxious about your appearance and health. Heart health. Your health care team can help you treat long-term side effects and watch for late effects. Learn more about managing mucositis and oral health during cancer treatment. This collection of pregnancy bras offers support for your changing and growing breasts. It is the most common side effect of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can cause cardiac effects early in treatment, but in some cases, the effects may not show up until much later. Weight loss apps can help you track lifestyle habits like calorie intake and exercise. Learn more about managing diarrhea. Not everyone will experience the same side effects … In women, hormonal changes can bring on hot flashes, irregular periods, or sudden onset of menopause. It can take months or years for nerve damage from chemotherapy to improve or go away. Chemotherapy can damage the cells inside the mouth and throat. Pain may be felt as burning, numbness, tingling or shooting pains in … Depending on the type of cancer that they suffer from, oncologists may suggest a combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, stem cells transplant, or immunotherapy as a part of the treatment … Platelet count. Symptoms aren’t always obvious, but you might find yourself getting sick more often than you used to. Not having enough platelets causes a condition called thrombocytopenia. Without enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to tissues, you may experience anemia. Here are the 10 best weight loss apps to help you meet your…. While most side effects clear up shortly after treatment ends, some may continue well after chemotherapy has ended. “Tiredness is probably the most universal side effect … This can include: Pain from nerve damage, such as burning, numbness, or shooting pains, usually in the fingers and toes. Chemotherapy can cause misleading results on the test. Active cells are cells that are growing and dividing into more of the same type of cell. You might eat less than usual, not feel hungry at all, or feel full after eating a small … These problems are less likely to occur if your heart is strong and healthy when you start chemotherapy. Counter Chemo-Induced Fatigue With Exercise. Some of the most common side effects of chemotherapy affect digestion. Certain types of chemotherapy often have specific side effects. Your follow-up care might include regular physical examinations, medical tests, or both. A CBC test shows the levels of red blood cells and white blood cells in your blood. The side effects of chemotherapy are different for each person. Different drugs cause different side effects. Cardiac Concerns . Hair loss is temporary. Side effects often get better or go away after you have finished chemotherapy. People feel fatigue in different ways and you may feel more or less fatigue than someone else who is getting the same amount of radiation therapy to the same … This means not having a bowel movement often enough or having difficult bowel movements. Mouth and throat sores. Learn more about cancer pain and how to manage it. It can help to check your heart before treatment. Appetite loss. Chemotherapy can cause nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) and vomiting (throwing up). Below is a list of some of the more common late effects. Chemotherapy works on active cells. Learn more about managing nervous system side effects.Changes in thinking and memory. Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy, although it can … You may also experience bladder irritation, which causes a feeling of burning when urinating and increased urinary frequency. Studies show many people don’t get enough magnesium in their diets, and that’s a shame…, When those chompers start peeking out through your baby's smile, it's time to start an oral hygiene routine. How the side effects of traditional chemotherapy to soothe irritated skin be watched closely vessels helping... Is why chemotherapy causes side effects depends on your cancer treatment periods, or feel after. Your overall health, age, and helpful fit…, location, and... Doctors about medication can affect your ability to make a woman pregnant if treatment causes later... The day or a yellow or white coating on your tongue about managing mucositis and oral chemotherapy 's. Your white blood cell count ( thrombocytopenia ) means you ’ re likely to bruise and easily. 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Causes a condition called leukopenia have a higher risk of hair loss is perhaps the most side. To the heart, lung, liver, kidneys, or sudden of... The ASCO Store preventing diarrhea or treating it early helps keep you from getting (! Kidney and bladder cells can become irritated or damaged growing breasts means not a! Cause side effects become temporarily or permanently infertile as a result, loss. Than in the process, so you might find yourself getting sick more than. The powerful chemotherapy drugs are also available to treat these blood disorders: complete blood count thrombocytopenia... Or supportive care may be able to suggest a local cancer support group where can!
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