Side Effects of Medical Cancer Therapy: Prevention and Treatment

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Organised by organ system, it will list the toxicity, side-effects and measures of prevention pertaining to each type of drug used in cancer therapy. The most dangerous side-effects will be given priority so as to alert the reader to their importance. JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser. Free Preview. Show next edition. Buy eBook. Rent the eBook. FAQ Policy.

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About this book This book is a comprehensive handbook designed for quick reference by medical oncologists on the side-effects of cancer therapy drugs, including the chemotherapeutic drugs. Some symptoms of generalized anxiety include:. Constipation is the difficulty in passing stools, a decrease in the normal frequency of your bowel movements or the passage of hard, dry stools. Constipation can be accompanied by nausea, gas related pain or pressure in your stomach.

Constipation can sometimes be a symptom of other problems.

An unexpected change in bowel habits or symptoms should be reported to your doctor or nurse. Here are some tips for dealing with and preventing constipation. Chemotherapy may affect your appetite in different ways. Food may taste different; sour and bitter tastes may be more intense, and sweet food may taste bland. You may even have a metallic taste in your mouth.

Radiation therapy can affect your taste buds, making food tasteless. Taste changes may last 2 to 3 months or longer after treatment ends. You may have a feeling of being full without eating much or any food at all. Depression is a persistent feeling of sadness that interferes with your ability to complete daily activities. If you experience any of these symptoms consistently for a 2-week period, you should talk with your doctor or nurse. Chemotherapy can damage the cells In your gastrointestinal tract and cause loose, watery, bowel movements. Diarrhea can lead to poor appetite, weight loss, weakness and dehydration.

Diarrhea can become life-threatening if it is not brought under control. Diarrhea may be relieved by restricting what you eat, drinking plenty of fluids and by using an anti-diarrhea medication. Minor skin problems are a common side effect of cancer treatments, including dry, itchy skin and skin rashes.

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Cancer Chemotherapy Side Effects

A skin rash can indicate an allergic reaction to therapy. Ask your doctor or nurse if there are creams and other special skin care products available to help decrease rashes caused by chemotherapy treatments. Fatigue is common among cancer patients. Symptoms of fatigue are sometimes vague and may include:.

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Hair loss usually begins 2 to 3 weeks after chemotherapy treatment starts. The amount of hair you lose depends on the chemotherapy you receive.

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The good news is that your hair will grow back. Hair usually starts to grow back 1 to 2 months after chemotherapy ends. It can be difficult to prepare yourself for the loss of your hair. Encourage family members, especially children, to express their thoughts and feelings about your hair loss. Remember, losing your hair does not change who you are as a person. Chemotherapy can cause sudden menopause that can bring on hot flashes. Hormonal anti estrogen treatment of breast cancer can also cause hot flashes.

Men who are being treated with hormonal therapy for prostate cancer can also experience hot flashes.


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How soon you will feel better depends on many things, including your general health and the kinds of chemotherapy you have been taking. Some side effects go away fairly quickly and others may take months or years to disappear completely. Sometimes side effects can last a lifetime. Platelets are cells in your blood that stop bleeding by plugging damaged blood vessels and helping the blood to clot. People with low levels of platelets bleed more easily and are prone to bruising. Certain types of chemotherapy drugs can damage the bone marrow so that it does not make enough platelets.

Thrombocytopenia caused by chemotherapy is usually temporary. Anemia is a decrease in the number of red blood cells and amount of hemoglobin, a protein that helps your blood carry oxygen. Anemia results in your blood being unable to carry oxygen throughout your body. Cancer-related anemia can be caused by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, iron deficiency, bleeding, the cancer itself or a combination of these or other things. Chemotherapy may lower your infection-fighting white blood cells neutrophils — a condition known as neutropenia.

Your doctor can tell if you have neutropenia by ordering a complete blood count CBC.

Your risk depends on:. When your white blood cell count is low you may NOT have the usual signs and symptoms of an infection.

Chemotherapy – risks and side effects

Chemotherapy can affect the cells in your bone marrow, mouth and throat, making you more susceptible to infection and bleeding. You can prevent infection, improve your appetite and improve comfort by keeping your mouth clean. There are medications that your doctor can prescribe to prevent, lessen, or relieve the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. These medications are called anti-nausea drugs or antiemetics.

Some of these medications are given before chemotherapy treatments in the hospital or clinic, but you may also be given prescriptions to take at home. Other symptoms include:. Peripheral neuropathy can range from mild to severe and may occur during treatment or after all of your treatment has been completed. Most nerve side effects usually improve or decrease once you have completed chemotherapy, though some may be permanent. Diabetes, alcohol abuse, and use of other chemotherapy agents can increase your risk of developing nerve side effects.

Pain may be a side effect of a cancer treatment, caused by surgery or the cancer itself. There are effective treatments for pain control. Often, medicines are used in combination with other treatments for best pain relief. Cancer treatment can cause physical, hormonal and emotional changes that affect your sexual drive and raise issues of fertility.

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Don't let your treatment related fatigue, surgical pain or other side effects take away from nurturing your relationship with your partner. Call: Monday-Friday 8 a. Request appointment. Find a cancer specialist. Find a cancer location. A quarterly email that includes Cancer Care and Research patient stories, posts from our Shine blog and upcoming events. Skip to navigation Skip to Content.

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