What Is Side Effects of Chemotherapy?

Side Effects of Chemotherapy

-swollen lymph nodes

-urinary bladder dysfunction.

-itchy skin

-loss of appetite (common)

-sore throat (may persist for months after treatment is completed).

A patient felt tired and had some pain in the joints. The doctor ordered a blood test and an X-ray test. After the results came, the doctor told him that he had cancer and he had to undergo chemotherapy as soon as possible. The man was scared and depressed at this news but then started feeling bad about himself because he thought he couldn’t handle it or that his family would not cope.

He then began to feel very sorry for himself because no matter how hard things became, they could never be worse than they are now, so why bother? However, just before entering into depression effectively, he remembered all the people who kept saying that they were praying for him, so he made up his mind to be strong and thank god for everything.

-Swollen lymph nodes

-Itchy skin

-Weight loss due to nausea/vomiting

-Loss of appetite (common)

What are chemotherapy side effects?

Chemotherapy side effects are the results of treatment with chemo drugs.  These drugs are designed to attack cells that divide quickly, which is why they work so well against cancer cells. But because these drugs affect all actively dividing cells-not just cancerous ones-chemo can also zap healthy fast-dividing cells like the lining of your mouth or intestines. This “collateral damage” can cause some severe health problems.  Yet, there are ways to prevent some of these problems from showing up in the first place.

1st chemo treatment side effects:

1) Hair loss (Alopecia):

During this procedure, the chemicals enter your body through an IV line.  Depending on the drugs used, you may receive treatment in a clinic or hospital setting or as an outpatient. Chemotherapy side effects usually start within 1 to 3 weeks after treatment and may last several months. Some common short-term side effects are: Diarrhea, Hair Loss Fatigue, Mouth Sores, Nausea Stomach Upset

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2) Low Blood counts:

Chemotherapy lowers blood cell counts by killing normal cells that reproduce quickly, like blood cells and cells in the lining of the mouth and intestines. This causes two problems: You can’t fight infections.  If a bacterial or viral illness develops, it can be life-threatening.

You have an increased risk of bleeding.

3) Nerve damage:

Chemotherapy can damage the cells lining your nerves, causing tingling or numbness in your fingers and hands. This condition is called peripheral neuropathy. It’s often mild enough to be treated with pain medications, but it may cause permanent nerve damage in some cases.

4) Kidney problem:

Some chemo drugs can hurt your kidneys while you’re receiving treatments because they kill off cells in the lining of blood vessels leading to the kidneys.

A standard chemotherapy drug used for leukemia treatment is Vincristine (Oncovin).  Vincristine also causes nerve damage, leading to pain and muscle weakness in your feet and legs.

5) Heart damage:

Chemotherapy drugs may harm the heart muscle (myocardium) or cause abnormal heart rhythms that disrupt blood flow through your body.  Both of these conditions are rare but serious.

6) Fatigue:

chemo side effects like fatigue make it hard to get out of bed in the morning, let alone deal with the rest of the day’s demands.

7) Mood swings:

You might feel sad, depressed, or anxious about your cancer diagnosis, what it means for you and your loved ones, treatment choices, and your prognosis.

8 ) Mouth sores, Nausea, Diarrhea, Abdominal Pain & Loss of Appetite; mostly early on during chemotherapy treatments, can lead to fatigue or malnutrition.

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9) Decrease in blood cell production affects your bone marrow by decreasing the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This can cause anemia, a condition where there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body; fevers or infections that won’t go away; severe bleeding or bruising; or open sores that take a long time to heal.

10) Infection:

Chemotherapy drugs lower the number of infection-fighting cells you have. So if you get sick with a virus like the common cold or flu, it could become more severe because of these lowered immunity levels

11) Diarrhea:

Chemotherapy drugs may irritate the lining of your digestive tract, causing diarrhea. In some cases, diarrhea can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

12) Nausea:

Nausea from chemotherapy side effects can be so severe that it interrupts treatment or causes you to stop a chemotherapy regimen altogether.

13) Loss of appetite:

A decrease in how much food you eat is another common chemo side effect that can lead to malnutrition and all its associated health problems

14) Bleeding or bruising:

You have a higher risk for bleeding or bruising when your blood counts are low because specific blood cells help your blood clot normally

15) Sore mouth:

Radiation therapy aimed at the head and neck often leads to sores (ulcers) in the throat and mouth.  This can make it difficult to eat or drink, leading to weight loss and malnutrition.

Side effects of radiotherapy:

1) Nausea and vomiting:

nausea from radiotherapy may start within a few days to a couple of weeks after treatment, but it usually goes away after a week or so.

2) Difficulty swallowing:

In some cases, the lining of the throat and esophagus (the tube that links your mouth to your stomach) becomes extremely dry and tight. This condition is called radiation pharyngitis or radiated skin ulceration.  Swallowing becomes difficult and painful in these cases.

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3) Diarrhea:

reflects an injury resulting in inflammation and damage to mucosal cells in the gastrointestinal tract caused by cytotoxic chemo drugs affecting the epithelial cell layer, disrupting intestinal function.

4) Loss of appetite:

a decrease in how much food you eat is another common effect that can lead to malnutrition and all its associated health problems

5) Fatigue:

chemotherapy side effects like fatigue make it hard to get out of bed in the morning, let alone deal with the rest of the day’s demands.

6) Numbness or coldness in your fingers and hands:

may indicate radiation injury to nerves responsible for sensation in these areas. It usually gets better on its own over time

7) Chemotherapy drugs taken before treatment might cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or a decreased appetite during radiotherapy treatment itself.  The severity will depend upon the type and doses of chemotherapy drugs used.

8) Mouth sores, sometimes severe enough to interfere with eating and drinking.  In extreme cases, the affected area may become very painful or non-functional temporarily or permanently

9) Dizziness/Vertigo:

a side effect of radiotherapy on parts of the brain that control balance can lead to vertigo.  Although this is more common in older adults, people of any age can experience it as a long-term chemo side effect.

10) Nerve damage:

Radiotherapy can cause nerve damage (radiation neuropathy) if the dose is high enough or delivered over a large enough area. The severity of such injury varies based on the amount and location of treatment.

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