What you need to know about chemo side effects

Why does chemo make you sick?

Despite being a key part of cancer treatment, Chemotherapy  can have a wide range of side effects that can affect cancer patients before as well as after. Because chemotherapy kills both normal and cancer cells, side effects can range from mild and easily treated to adverse side effects and none at all. The severity of side effects varies from person to person and is influenced by the type of chemotherapy drug you are receiving. A patient can better navigate their cancer journey by knowing what to expect and how to address these side effects. This blog explores the common side effects of chemotherapy, methods of minimising them, and the long-term effects to be aware of.

Common Side Effects of Chemotherapy

You should discuss possible side effects with your cancer care team in order to be prepared for anything that may occur. Some of the common side effects of chemotherapy include hair loss, which can be prepared by purchasing wigs and headwear in advance.

How to minimise chemotherapy side effects

There are several strategies patients can use to minimise the side effects of chemotherapy. In addition to medications prescribed by your doctor, simple techniques like deep breathing exercises, drinking peppermint tea for nausea relief, and sucking on ice cubes for mouth sores can be effective. Supportive care, also known as palliative care, plays a crucial role in managing side effects and improving quality of life during treatment.

Find all the techniques here: Tips & Tricks 

Advancements in Chemotherapy

Thanks to ongoing research and development, many types of chemotherapy drugs are now available with fewer side effects than in the past. Scientists and doctors are continually working to improve drug combinations and treatment methods to reduce the impact of chemotherapy on patients. By staying informed about the latest advancements in cancer treatment, patients can work with their healthcare team to choose the most effective and tolerable treatment options.

What are the long-term side effects of chemotherapy?

While chemotherapy's immediate side effects are well-known, long-term effects are often overlooked. These effects can manifest after treatment ends and may linger for months or years. Some long-term complications of chemotherapy include hearing problems, cognitive difficulties, heart issues, lung problems, osteoporosis, nerve damage, early menopause, and infertility. It's essential for patients to discuss the potential long-term effects of their chemotherapy drugs with their healthcare provider.

Long-term effects of chemotherapy on the body

  • Hearing Problems 

  • Cognitive Difficulties 

  • Heart problems 

  • Lung Problems 

  • Osteoporosis - Weakening of the bones. 

  • Nerve damage 

  • Early Menopause 

  • Infertility 

Navigating Your Cancer Journey

Preparing for cancer treatment can be challenging and emotional. By staying informed, communicating openly with your healthcare team, and taking proactive steps to manage side effects, patients can navigate their cancer journey with enhanced confidence and peace of mind. Remember to seek support from loved ones, healthcare professionals, and the resources available to you during this time.

Chemotherapy is a powerful treatment that can save lives, but it also comes with a range of side effects that patients should be prepared for. By understanding common side effects, ways to manage them, and potential long-term effects, patients can approach their treatment journey with greater knowledge and empowerment.

Need more help with preparing for cancer treatment? Check out this blog! 'How to prepare for your cancer journey' 

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