Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Uma Shankari By Uma Shankari, 26th Dec 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Drugs & Medicines

Side effects of chemotherapy depend on the choice of the drug, the dosage, the method of administration, and the way your body reacts to the drug.

What is Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy involves administering drugs to treat cancer. Cancer is a condition caused by the unregulated growth of certain cells in a human body. The cancerous cells can spread from the primary spot by breaking away from it and affect other parts as well.

Chemotherapy drugs are designed kill cancer cells by targeting cells that are growing rapidly; nevertheless, they can also damage normal cells. Damage to the normal cells accounts for many of the side effects of chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy affects those areas where the normal cells actively divide and grow. This could mean affecting your hair, skin, the lining of the mouth, your digestive system, and bone marrow.

Side effects of chemotherapy

Side effects of chemotherapy depend on the choice of the drug, the dosage, the method of administration, and the way your body reacts to the drug.

Most of the chemotherapy side effects are short-term and usually disappear with the completion of the treatment course.

As soon as your treatment begins, the first short-term chemotherapy side effects are nausea and vomiting.

Within the first few days of treatment, your blood cell counts will decrease. This may be low number of infection-fighting white blood cell count (neutropenia), low red blood cell count (anemia), and low platelet count (thrombocytopenia). Report any occurrence of fever, as it can indicate infection, and your doctor may prescribe suitable antibiotics to counter this.

You will experience the mood swings of your digestive system — loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea. You may also experience fatigue, hair loss and sores in the mouth or throat. There can be changes in nervous system, brain functioning, sexuality and damage to the heart, lung, liver, kidney or urinary system. Some chemotherapy drugs can damage the nerves, most commonly in your hands and feet. This can mean that you may feel as though your hands and feet are thickly padded or that they tingle.

All chemotherapy side effects do not appear at once. Some of the chemotherapy side effects start appearing immediately, while others take some time to develop. It is also possible that you may react in a different way to the same drug or experience fewer chemotherapy side effects.

Many side effects can be overcome with medications. You should try to be as active as possible. You can go for short walks, or use treadmills, but do heed to any feelings of breathlessness and stop. You can practice Yogic breathing and meditation. This can help you to get good sleep.

Premenopausal women may experience menopause, because of damage to ovaries. This makes pregnancy difficult. If a woman continues to menstruate, she must adopt birth control options, as the treatment is likely to affect the fetus. Women also face higher risks for osteoporosis.

Long-term use of chemotherapy can damage the heart and cause secondary cancers, such as leukemia.


Cancer Treament, Cancer Treatment, Dangers, Risks, Side Effect, Side Effects Of Chemotherapy

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author avatar Uma Shankari
I write on society, relationships, travel, health, nutrition and fitness.
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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
26th Dec 2010 (#)

Good information.
Please read the publication notes as I sent some tips on improvements to help get more views.

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