Just as every person is different, every cancer is different. Depending on the type of cancer a person has and their overall health, they may or may not experience side effects from the treatment they are receiving for their cancer.
Many advancements have been made to help minimize side effects that a person may experience when being treated for cancer. Certain medications can help to avoid unpleasant side effects such as nausea and vomiting. Other medications can help lower a patient’s risk for infection while being treated.
One of the most common side effects of any cancer treatment is fatigue. Getting plenty of rest will lessen fatigue and give your body time for healing. Staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet, and staying active will also help you feel better. In addition, our care team can provide helpful information about other ways to manage side effects.
If you have any of the following side effects, it’s very important to call our office:
Fever over 100.4, with/without chills
Blood in urine, stools, or sputum
Breathing difficulty, including shortness of breath
Cough that produces yellow, green, brown, or red sputum
Dehydration: excessive thirst, dark urine, decreased urination
Difficulty swallowing or eating / mouth sores
Dizziness, light-headedness, exhaustion, or extreme weakness
Nausea, vomiting, constipation, or uncontrolled diarrhea
Unusual or sudden onset of swelling, redness, or pain
Urination that is frequent, urgent, or painful / Low back pain
Sometimes the side effects of treatment don’t occur for months or years after a person has received cancer treatment. You and your oncologist need to discuss any side effects you are currently experiencing and potential late-term effects that you will need to be aware of.
Helpful Patient Resources:
The National Cancer Institute provides medical advice and practical tips to help you during chemotherapy. Learn about self-care, medical problems to call your doctor about, and questions to ask your doctor on topics including:
Anemia: Practical advice about anemia, tips to help people with cancer feel less tired, and signs to call your doctor about.
Appetite Loss: Practical tips to help people with cancer make eating easier, stay strong during chemotherapy and manage appetite changes.
Bleeding and Bruising: Practical steps to help cancer patients prevent bleeding problems during chemotherapy and know what issues to call your doctor about.
Constipation: Practical tips to help cancer patients prevent or relieve constipation and feel better during chemotherapy. Learn what foods can help and critical questions to ask your doctor.
Diarrhea: Practical information to help cancer patients prevent or relieve diarrhea and feel better during chemotherapy. Learn what foods and drinks may help you feel better and what problems to call your doctor about.
Fatigue: Practical tips to help cancer patients feel less tired and fatigued during chemotherapy.
Hair Loss (Alopecia): Practical tips on how others have coped with hair loss (also called alopecia) during chemotherapy.
Lymphedema: Practical information for cancer patients about ways to manage and treat lymph fluid buildup and know when to call your doctor.
Memory Changes: Practical information about what causes memory changes during chemotherapy.
Mouth and Throat Changes: Practical steps that people with cancer can take if their mouth or throat hurts during chemotherapy. Learn about a mouth rinse that can help, what foods to avoid, and questions to ask your doctor.
Nausea and Vomiting: Practical tips and advice to help cancer patients prevent nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy. Learn what foods and drinks are easy on your stomach.
Nerve Changes: Practical information about nerve changes (also called peripheral neuropathy) and tips that have helped others during chemotherapy. Learn what changes to call your doctor about and questions to ask your doctor.
Pain: Practical advice to help cancer patients prevent or manage pain during chemotherapy treatment. Tips to help you track your pain, get the most from your pain medicine and know when to call your doctor.
Sexual and Fertility Changes in Men: Practical information and answers to questions from men about sexual problems or fertility changes due to chemotherapy. Learn what questions to ask your doctor before treatment starts.
Sexual and Fertility Changes in Women: Practical information and answers to questions from women about sexual problems or fertility changes due to chemotherapy. Learn what questions to ask your doctor before treatment starts.
Skin and Nail Changes: Practical information to help people with cancer care for their skin and nails during chemotherapy and problems to call their doctor about.
Sleep Problems: Practical information about ways to manage sleep problems and ways your doctor can help.
Swelling (Fluid Retention): Practical information for cancer patients about what causes swelling (fluid retention) during chemotherapy, steps to prevent it, and when to call their doctor.
Urination Changes: Practical information about how to prevent or manage changes in urination during chemotherapy, problems to call your doctor about, and questions to ask your doctor.