Chemotherapy Side Effects

What causes side effects?

The severity of side effects can vary greatly depending upon the person and the chemotherapy drugs being administered. Patients should keep in mind that not every person gets every side effect. There are a lot of medications out there to help alleviate many symptoms. You'll be closely watched by your doctor for any changes to your body. The side effects may sound frightening, but you may have none or just a few.

Cancer cells are fast growing cells, therefore many chemotherapy drugs are made to destroy these cells. But unfortunately, along with the bad cells, good cells are also affected.

The cells most likely to be affected are those forming in the bone marrow, digestive tract (mouth, stomach, intestines, esophagus), and reproductive system (sexual organs and hair follicles). Some anti-cancer drugs may affect cells of vital organs such as the heart, kidney, bladder, lungs and nervous system.

Keep in mind that most side effects gradually go away after treatment ends and healthy cells have a chance to recover. Although the treatment may be unpleasant, the benefits greatly outweigh the side effects.

Some general side effects:

-sore mouth, gums and throat
-nerve muscle problems
-dry skin or skin changes
-kidney damage or bladder irritation
-sexuality and fertility effects on the reproductive organs
-weaking of the heart muscle
-lung changes or difficulty breathing
-inflammation of the liver
-low white blood cells with increase risk of infection
-low platelets and increased risk of bleeding or bruising
-anemia or low red blood cells
-hair loss or thinning
-metallic taste in your mouth or change in taste

Read More On:

Mouth Sores
Central Nervous System Problems
Nerve and Muscle Effects
Blood Clotting Problems
Kidney and Bladder Effects
Flu-Like Symptoms
Fluid Retention
Effects on Sexual Organs
Feelings about Sexuality

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