Chemotherapy: 8 Side Effects You Need to Know About
The first question you might ask your doctor after receiving a cancer diagnosis is about the side effects of chemotherapy, or "chemo." While chemotherapy drugs are useful enough for treating cancer, they might do a lot more than cure cancer. Chemotherapy can have a variety of unpleasant side effects, although many of them can be prevented once your treatment is over. Here we’ve listed various side effects of chemotherapy that you should know about.
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- Tiredness: One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy is tiredness (fatigue).
Many people undergoing treatment are tired most of the time or tire easily while performing daily tasks.
It can help to:
-Get plenty of sleep
-Avoid tasks or activities that you are not up to.
-If you're able, do some light exercise, such as walking or yoga, to boost your energy level; however, don't push yourself too hard.
-Request assistance from friends and family with daily tasks.
-If you work, you may want to request time off from your employer or work part-time until your treatment is completed.
- Hair loss: Chemotherapy can harm hair follicles, causing hair to become weak, brittle, and fall out. Any regrown hair may be of a different texture or color. This usually continues until the treatment is finished, at which point the hair almost always regrows.
- Easy bruising and bleeding: Chemotherapy can make you bruise or bleed more easily. This is a common side effect of chemotherapy, according to Trusted Source.
It is dangerous to bleed more heavily than usual. Precautions, such as wearing gloves when gardening or cutting food, are recommended. Take extra precautions to avoid injuries such as falls.
- Nausea and vomiting: Nausea and vomiting can occur unexpectedly. These problems can occur immediately following each chemotherapy session or days later.
Changes in eating habits, such as eating fewer meals or avoiding certain foods, can be beneficial. Antinausea medications can also help, especially if the side effects occur at regular intervals, such as immediately after chemotherapy.
Also, read- Cancer Survival Rate & Life Expectancy
- Memory problems: During chemotherapy, some people experience difficulties with their short-term memory, concentration, and attention span. Routine tasks may take significantly longer than usual.
However, the effects may wear off once your treatment is over.
- Anemia: Chemotherapy reduces the number of red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body.
Anemia develops when your red blood cell count falls too low.
Anemia symptoms include:
-Tiredness and a lack of energy are more common than the general fatigue associated with chemotherapy.
-Heartbeats that are noticeable (heart palpitations)
If you experience any of these symptoms, please contact your care team as soon as possible. You may require treatment to increase your red blood cell count.
- Sore mouth: Chemotherapy can cause soreness and irritation of the mouth lining. This is referred to as mucositis.
Symptoms typically appear a few days after treatment begins and include:
-Ulcers in the mouth
-Discomfort while eating, drinking, or talking
-Dryness in the mouth
- Sleep problems: Some chemotherapy patients have difficulty falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night and are unable to return to sleep. This is referred to as insomnia.
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