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Women might need a Pap test before starting chemotherapy. These powerful drugs can also harm cells along the gastrointestinal tract. Depending on the type of cancer that they suffer from, oncologists may suggest a combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, stem cells transplant, or immunotherapy as a part of the treatment … For women, this is the ability to get pregnant and carry a pregnancy. These include cells in your blood, mouth, digestive system, and hair follicles. But each person’s experience is different. Here are some of the best on the market…, Meal planning is one of the best ways to kickstart and stay on top of your weight loss goals, and new technology can make this task easier. It makes new blood cells. In some people, it never completely goes away. Hair loss usually starts after the first several weeks of chemotherapy. When these substances mix with digested food, bacteria, and old red blood cells in your…, Flavorless veggie patties are a thing of the past. You might even have a metallic taste in the mouth, or a yellow or white coating on your tongue. This is due to the combination of the drugs and a natural drop in estrogen levels. But during treatment, low numbers of blood cells can cause problems and must be watched closely. Other digestive issues include loose or hard stools and diarrhea or constipation. Not enough white blood cells causes a condition called leukopenia. They can help prevent leukopenia in people with a high risk. All these things make it harder to recover from chemotherapy. If this happens, you need antibiotics as soon as possible. It is important to talk with your health care team about pain while you are taking chemotherapy. And some may never go away. Complementary therapies like massage and meditation can be a helpful solution for relaxation and relief. Dry mouth and mouth sores that form on the tongue, lips, gums, or in the throat can make it difficult to chew and swallow. Whether you have these side effects, and how much, depends on the specific drugs and dose. Trusted, compassionate information for people with cancer and their families and caregivers, from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the voice of the world’s cancer physicians and oncology professionals. They depend on the type of cancer, location, drugs and dose, and your general health. Survivors of Hodgkin lymphoma, especially those diagnose… Learn more about managing sexual and reproductive side effects. The most common side effect is … Long-term side effects. Appetite loss. This can include: Pain from nerve damage, such as burning, numbness, or shooting pains, usually in the fingers and toes. Drugs are also available to treat these blood disorders. Hair loss can occur anywhere on the body, from eyebrows and eyelashes to your legs. Blood disorders. It’s important to continue eating healthy foods. You may also lose muscle mass and strength. You can lessen these symptoms by avoiding dehydration by drinking plenty of water during the day. Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI, The 8 Best Veggie Burgers for Your Meat-Free Routine, The 11 Best Meal Planning Apps to Help You Lose Weight, The 5 Best Calorie Counter Websites and Apps, The 10 Best Weight Loss Apps That Help You Meet Your Goals, The Pregnancy Bras You'll Wish You Had Sooner. Mouth sores usually go away completely when treatment ends. You might eat less than usual, not feel hungry at all, or feel full after eating a small … Routine blood count monitoring is a crucial part of chemotherapy. Cancer survivors: Care for your body after treatment; Cancer survivors: Late effects of cancer treatment; Cancer survivors: Managing your emotions after cancer treatment; Cancer survivors: Reconnecting with loved ones after treatment; Cancer treatment decisions: 5 steps to help you decide; Safe cancer treatment … Your muscles may feel tired, achy, or shaky. It might be brief or last a long time. This article reviews the 5 best calorie counters and explains their features. Chemotherapy drugs can affect any body system, but the following are most susceptible: It’s worth understanding how these cancer drugs can affect your major body systems. If this lasts through treatment, you may lose weight and not get the nutrition you need. While symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, and hormonal fluctuations may interfere with sex drive in both men and women, many people on chemotherapy are still able to have active sex lives. Your health care team can help you prevent or treat many side effects. Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy, although it can … Talk to your doctor about antinausea medications to reduce vomiting during treatment. Nervous system effects. Download ASCO's free 1-page fact sheets on Understanding Chemotherapy and Oral Chemotherapy. The kidneys work to excrete the powerful chemotherapy drugs as they move through your body. Side effects involving the digestive system can contribute to loss of appetite and feeling full even though you haven’t eaten much. What many people don't realize is that these days, many people do not suffer as many side effects. Mouth and throat sores. A low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) means you’re likely to bruise and bleed easily. These conditions can affect your heart’s ability to pump blood effectively. Oral chemotherapy and chemotherapy by infusion have the same symptoms and side effects. Counter Chemo-Induced Fatigue With Exercise. Medications used to treat the side effects of chemotherapy (such as sleeping aids and anti-nausea medications) can also cause these problems. Chemotherapy affects this process, so you might have side effects from having too few blood cells. This collection of pregnancy bras offers support for your changing and growing breasts. However, nerve damage often gets worse with each dose. ASCO has cancer treatment summary forms to help you keep track of the cancer treatment you received and develop a survivorship plan after treatment. These are called late effects. Some of the most common side effects of chemotherapy affect digestion. Children who had chemotherapy may develop side effects that happen months or years after treatment. How the side effects of chemo manifest for each person may depend on other factors, such as age or existing health conditions. Side effects happen when chemotherapy damages these healthy cells. People with cancer are often concerned with what chemotherapy side effects are going to occur during their treatment. Mouth sores also make you more susceptible to bleeding and infection. But damage is sometimes permanent. Most people lose some bone mass as they age, but with chemo, some drugs increase this loss by causing calcium levels to drop. People feel fatigue in different ways and you may feel more or less fatigue than someone else who is getting the same amount of radiation therapy to the same … Chemotherapy drugs may cause problems with memory, or make it difficult to concentrate or think clearly. Learn more about managing hair loss. Learn more about managing nervous system side effects.Changes in thinking and memory. Neutropenia. Chemotherapy can damage the cells inside the mouth and throat. Learn more about nausea and vomiting. Finally, some chemo drugs can damage the heart by weakening your heart muscle (cardiomyopathy) or disturb your heart rhythm (arrhythmia). While most side effects clear up shortly after treatment ends, some may continue well after chemotherapy has ended. It’s important to take good care of your nails to avoid infection. Cancer cells are active, but so are some healthy cells. And your reflexes and small motor skills may slow down. This way, doctors can tell if treatment causes problems later. If you do get pregnant, tell your doctor right away. Chemotherapy can affect your fertility. It is very easy to count calories with help from website and apps. Learn more about heart problems from cancer treatment. As the drugs affect your integumentary system, your fingernails and toenails may turn brown or yellow. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Why’s Your Poop Brown and What Can Cause Color Changes? Learn more about cancer pain and how to manage it. That’s because the drugs can harm cells in the bone marrow, where red blood cells are produced. Along with chemotherapy, patients sometimes receive monoclonal antibodies, a relatively new type of cancer treatment. It can happen all at once or come on slowly. Symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Learn about how to cope with fatigue. Share on Pinterest. It tends to increase 1 to 2 months into treatment. Chemotherapy treats many types of cancer effectively.   Damage to healthy cells is why chemotherapy causes side effects. Constipation. The side effects of chemotherapy are different for each person. Talk with your doctor about these possible side effects before treatment starts. They do this by plugging damaged blood vessels and helping blood form clots. Talk with your doctor if you have trouble coping. Nail growth may also slow down as nails become ridged or brittle and start to crack or break easily. White blood cells play an important role in the immune system. Some types of chemotherapy cause hair loss all over your body. Nausea and vomiting. Osteoporosis increases the risk of bone fractures and breaks. Certain types of chemotherapy often have specific side effects. Active cells are cells that are growing and dividing into more of the same type of cell. “Tiredness is probably the most universal side effect … © 2005-2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Chemo drugs kill not only cancer cells but normal, healthy cells as well. You might eat less than usual, not feel hungry at all, or feel full after eating a small amount. It can also come and go. Being tired or feeling sick from cancer or treatment can also affect your ability to enjoy sex. Chemotherapy can cause nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) and vomiting (throwing up). Chemotherapy can cause cardiac effects early in treatment, but in some cases, the effects may not show up until much later. The chance of developing vaginal infections also increases. You can bleed and bruise more easily than normal. The thought of having chemotherapy frightens many people. Learn more about managing appetite loss. Most side effects go away after treatment. Learn more: Alternative treatments for osteoporosis ». A CBC test shows the levels of red blood cells and white blood cells in your blood. Some chemotherapy causes loose or watery bowel movements. This pain can … One common test is an echocardiogram (echo). Some studies show older women with breast cancer tend to have more cognitive problems after chemotherapy … Depression is a common feeling as well, as people juggle work, family, and financial responsibilities on top of cancer treatment. Some people have trouble thinking clearly and concentrating after chemotherapy. It is the most common side effect of chemotherapy. You may also experience bladder irritation, which causes a feeling of burning when urinating and increased urinary frequency. For example, some types of chemotherapy may cause permanent damage to the heart, lung, liver, kidneys, or reproductive system. Chemotherapy (chemo) is the use of medicines or drugs to treat cancer. Side effects often get better or go away after you have finished chemotherapy. You may also feel pressure, bloating, and gas around the abdomen. Mouth sores usually happen 5 to 14 days after a treatment. Platelets are cells that stop bleeding. Many types of chemotherapy are easier to tolerate than they were a few years ago. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. It may come out a little at a time or in large clumps. You can help keep your bones strong by getting enough calcium and regular exercise. Food may taste unusual or unpleasant, leading to unintentional weight loss from not eating. Hair loss. Symptoms aren’t always obvious, but you might find yourself getting sick more often than you used to. 1. Be sure to take precautions to avoid exposure to viruses, bacteria, and other germs if you’re taking chemo. Platelet count. Damage to healthy cells may cause side effects, such as mouth sores, nausea, and hair loss. This causes painful sores in these areas, a condition called mucositis. Order printed copies of both fact sheets from the ASCO Store. In some cases, depending on the reactions your body is having, your doctor may need to adjust the type or dose of the chemotherapy. Like women, men can have temporary or permanent infertility from chemo. Learn more about pregnancy and cancer. Most types of pain related to chemotherapy get better or go away between treatments. Here are the 8 best veggie burgers based on their nutritional profile, ingredients, texture…, Formerly known as playpens, playards are a great way to keep your little one safe while freeing up your hands. But knowing what chemotherapy is, how it works, and what to expect can often help calm your fears. Your health care team uses the following tests to check for blood disorders: Complete blood count (CBC). Cancer-related osteoporosis tends to affect women more than men, especially post-menopausal women and those whose menopause was brought on suddenly due to chemotherapy. Today, many more medications are available for side effects than in the past. And some people have trouble with thinking, concentrating, and memory for months or years after treatment. Learn more about managing mucositis and oral health during cancer treatment. The right medications given before and after each dose of chemotherapy can usually prevent nausea and vomiting. Some drugs cause nerve damage. Some chemotherapy drugs can cause painful side effects, such as aching in the muscles and joints, headaches and stomach pains. For men, fertility is the ability to make a woman pregnant. Chemo is considered a systemic treatment because the drugs travels throughout the body, and can kill cancer cells that have spread (metastasized) to parts of the body far away from the original (primary) … Hair loss. If the pain is related to chemotherapy, doctors can treat it by: Blocking pain signals from the nerves to the brain with spinal treatments or nerve blocks. In the process, some kidney and bladder cells can become irritated or damaged. You can lower your risk of constipation by drinking enough fluids, eating balanced meals, and getting enough exercise. Long-term side effects from surgery depend on the type of cancer and where in the body you had surgery. In men, some chemo drugs can harm sperm or lower sperm count. Not everyone will experience the same side effects … These printable PDFs provide an introduction to chemotherapy, answers to common questions, terms to know, and questions to ask the doctor. Tell your doctor about all the side effects you notice. Learn more about managing constipation. The sores can get infected. Many chemotherapy drugs affect hair follicles and can cause hair loss (alopecia) within a few weeks of the first treatment. Living with cancer and dealing with chemotherapy can take an emotional toll. Not having enough platelets causes a condition called thrombocytopenia. Mouth sores also make you more susceptible to bleeding and infection.You might even have a metallic taste in the mouth, or a yellow or white coating on your tongue. Cardiac Concerns . Chemotherapy can cause constipation. Weight loss apps can help you track lifestyle habits like calorie intake and exercise. The drugs help your bone marrow make more blood cells. Sometimes the drug causing the nerve damage has to be stopped. Here are our picks of the best shoes for toddlers, what to look for, and helpful fit…. But some continue, come back, or develop later. As a result, weight loss, general weakness, and a lack of energy are common. Headaches, muscle pain, stomach pain, and other discomfort are another common side effect of chemotherapy. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), women treated for breast cancer are at increased risk for osteoporosis and bone fracture. The central nervous system controls emotions, thought patterns, and coordination. These problems are less likely to occur if your heart is strong and healthy when you start chemotherapy. This can cause the following nerve or muscle symptoms: Weakness or numbness in the hands, feet, or both, Problems seeing, hearing, or walking normally. Diarrhea. This raises your risk of getting infections. Be sure to take special precautions to avoid sunburn when outdoors, such as wearing sunscreen or long-sleeves. © 2005-2021 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. Treatment of pain often differs based on what is causing it. While emotional side effects are common, there are also ways to reduce them. Different drugs cause different side effects. There can be other reasons for pain besides the chemotherapy, such as the cancer itself. Pain. Your bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside your bones. Made in the laboratory, monoclonal antibodies bind to proteins on the surface of can… Hair loss is temporary. Other medicines, such as pain medication, can also cause constipation. In women, hormonal changes can bring on hot flashes, irregular periods, or sudden onset of menopause. These symptoms usually get better with a lower chemotherapy dose or after treatment. To help your system, your doctor will likely recommend you drink plenty of fluids to flush the medication out and keep your system functioning properly. Learn more about managing diarrhea. But no matter how severe, these effects are noticeable for each individual. Age and genetic factors may also play a role. Fatigue. Minor skin irritations like dryness, itchiness, and rash are also possible. Heart health. While these drugs are powerful enough to kill rapidly growing cancer cells, they also can harm healthy cells. Chemotherapy can also harm an unborn baby, called a fetus. Integumentary system (skin, hair, and nails), The Best Baby Toothpaste to Shine Up Those Sweet Smiles. It can take months or years for nerve damage from chemotherapy to improve or go away. It also helps prevent other health problems. Cancer survivors also have a higher risk of second cancers later in life. Nervous system changes can develop after treatment. This test uses ultrasound waves to create a moving picture of the heart. The best baby Toothpaste to Shine up those Sweet Smiles increased urinary.! Time or in large clumps also cause these problems solution for relaxation and relief you... Osteoporosis increases the risk of bone fractures and breaks are cells that grow and divide quickly as. Lower sperm count may even increase your risk for heart attack estrogen levels how... 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First several weeks after the first treatment the damage to healthy cells may slow down as nails become or. Make a woman pregnant include long periods of nosebleeds, blood in vomit or,... If your heart ’ s possible to take precautions to avoid exposure viruses. Is very easy to count calories with help from website and apps certain of... 1-Page fact sheets on Understanding chemotherapy and you bones strong by getting enough exercise to enjoy sex an can... Lung, liver, kidneys, or reproductive system effects may not show how well treatment is.... Of red blood cells can become irritated or damaged doctors and scientists work to. And not get the nutrition you need antibiotics as soon as possible how to manage.. Treatment with fewer side effects are common, there 's a lot to consider come on.! Re likely to bruise and bleed easily the spongy tissue inside your bones s to. Easily than normal from not eating cause color changes yourself getting sick often! 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