Chemotherapy Side Effects
While Chemo drugs kill fast-growing cells, they also damage healthy cells causing side effects. The time taken to get over some side effects varies from person to person and depends on your overall health and the drugs you were given. Many side effects go away fairly quickly after treatment ends, but some may take months to completely go away.
Some of the more common side effects of chemotherapy are fatigue, hair loss, anemia, nausea and vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, sores and pain with swallowing. Hair loss is a common a side effect of chemo treatments but it is temporary with new hair growth beginning a few weeks after the final treatment.
Weight loss and a lack of energy are equally common making it necessary to continue eating healthy foods. Another common side effect of chemotherapy affects digestion and you might have a metallic taste in the mouth or a yellow or white coating on your tongue. The patient must avoid exposure to viruses, bacteria, and other germs as the immune system is weakened during Chemo.
Chemotherapy drugs may cause memory problems and make it difficult to concentrate or think clearly. This symptom sometimes is called “chemo fog,” or “chemo brain.” Chemotherapy drugs may alter hormones and result in mood swings. Sexual function and fertility may also be impacted in some cases.
Living with cancer and dealing with chemotherapy could also take an emotional toll. Patients can be overwhelmed and even depressed as they juggle work, family, and financial responsibilities or cope with pain and discomfort.
Complementary therapies like massage and meditation can be a helpful solution for relaxation and relief. Cancer support group where you can speak with others undergoing cancer treatment is helpful but if feelings of depression persist, professional counseling may be required.
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