Chemotherapy Side Effects
TLDR: Chemotherapy comes with many side effects that may effect your everyday life. It’s important to take extra good care of yourself during this time to reduce the side effects and improve your ability to recover quickly.
Cancer is a disease that causes abnormalities to form in the cells of the body. There are several different types of cancers out there all of which impact the body in different ways. Cancer is known to have a high fatality rate associated with it even though there are plenty of treatment options available. One of the most widely-used treatment options employed in the battle to cure cancer is chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is a specialized treatment that uses a combination of anti-cancer drugs which are administered according to a specific schedule. Chemotherapy is commonly given to cancer patients in three different capacities which are either as a curative approach, to sustain the life of patients, or to reduce symptoms associated with cancer.
While chemotherapy is widely used and probably the most common treatment for cancer out there, there are some side effects in chemotherapy which can have a huge impact on your overall health long-term. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, understanding chemotherapy side effects are very important.
Below, we’re going to take a detailed look at all of the most common side effects that people experience after going through chemotherapy.
Side effects of chemotherapy
Chemotherapy side effects come in a wide range of different ailments. Take a look below to see some of the most common side effects in chemotherapy that people experience after completing a successful treatment.
Common Chemotherapy side effects include:
- Hair Loss
- Sudden weight changes
- Mood changes
Depending on what chemotherapy medication your doctor prescribes you, all of these side effects can be brought on or none at all. Your body type and resistance to the medication will also play a huge factor in determining which of these specific side effects you experience after completing chemotherapy.
However, because the drugs using during chemotherapy treatment travel throughout the entire body, they have a high likelihood of affecting your normal organs also. There are a few classes of cells that are impacted by chemotherapy at a much greater rate than others. These cells include: Hair Follicles, digestive tract cells, reproductive systems, and blood-forming cells located in the bone marrow.
Everyone doesn’t experience chemotherapy side effects long term which is great news if you are having to deal with the treatment currently. If you are someone who is experiencing the side effects of chemotherapy you should be comforted to know that the severity of symptoms varies from person to person.
If you do experience these side effects after getting chemotherapy successfully done, it should be noted that they can last anywhere from a couple of weeks, to months, or even years in some instances. It’s always best to consult with your doctor about after-care so that you will be able to ensure you’re taking all of the necessary steps to cure the side effects of chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy has a high chance of causing permanent damage to your body in certain areas such as the kidneys and heart. In these instances, the side effects of chemotherapy can last a lifetime which is why many people choose to go an alternative treatment route when diagnosed with cancer.
Dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy
While undergoing your chemotherapy treatments, it is especially important that you take care of yourself to reduce the side effects and help you get through this challenging time.
Some ways to deal with the side effects of chemotherapy include:
- Rest or take naps during the days
- Eat small healthy foods
- Exercise, like a walk, may boost your energy
- Keep your brain active
- Use a planner to avoid forgetting important events and tasks
- Keep your stress level in check – try deep breathing and meditation if needed
- If necessary, ask your doctor for a prescription to fight side effects like nausea
It was thought at one point that taking multi-vitamin supplements may actually help with reducing the impact of chemotherapy side effects however recent studies show that this is far from the truth. If you are thinking about taking vitamins as a way to help you get over your chemotherapy side effects, you should always consult with your doctor before doing so.
There are some side effects that warrant you to contact your doctor in order to receive immediate assistance including:
- intense chills
- a rash
- allergic reaction
- pain at the chemo injection site
Some chemotherapy side effects are very noticeable while others are not that easy to detect.
If you find yourself becoming depressed because of dealing with your chemotherapy side effects, you should contact your physician team to see if they can match you with a support group that can help you. We’ve covered all of the most important information that you need to know about chemotherapy and the most common side effects you will experience when undergoing it.
As long as you follow all of the tips and resources that we’ve given you in this write-up, you will be able to deal with the side effects of chemotherapy like a true champion. Start living a healthier life today learning how to live with the side effects of chemotherapy.
While chemotherapy is one of the primary treatment methods used to cure cancer, it is not the only one available. Some other common cancer treatments include: hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. Chemotherapy works by targeting the fast-growing cancer cells that are produced by the disease.
Final Thoughts on Chemotherapy Side Effects
People Also Ask
How can I boost my immune system during chemo?
You can boost your immune system during chemo by taking good care of yourself each and every day. Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Washing your hands regularly
- Get your flu shot every year
- Stay rested by enough rest every night
- Limit being around people who are sick
- Eat a nutritious diet to give your body important nutrients
- Report signs of sickness or infection to your doctor immediately
- Ask your care team about protective drugs that will help by boosting your immune system
How long do you experience negative side effects after chemo?
When it comes to how long you will experience negative side effects after chemo, the reality is that results will vary. Depending on the treatment you have worked out with your care team, your health, and a variety of other factors. Many patients going through chemo feel the first effects of acute nausea and vomiting a few minutes to a few hours after your chemotherapy treatment while others feel it more than 24 hours later.