Sunday, February 25, 2024

Effects Of Chemo On The Body

What Are Side Effects

What Does Chemotherapy Actually Do To Your Body?

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the two most common types of cancer treatment. They work by destroying these fast-growing cells. But other types of fast-growing healthy cells also can be damaged along with cancer cells, causing adverse reactions, or side effects.

Side effects can range from tiredness and nausea to hair loss and blood clotting problems. Because each person responds a little differently to treatment and it’s hard for doctors to predict exactly how the body will react, they’ll closely watch a child who is being treated for cancer. Doctors weigh the amount and severity of side effects against the benefits of treatments.

Fortunately, most side effects are temporary. As the body’s normal cells recover, these problems start to go away. There are also good supportive treatments that can lessen the side effects.

Side effects vary:

  • Some can be merely unpleasant, while others can be much more serious.
  • Some show up right away, while others develop over time.
  • Some kids have just a few, while others have many over the course of treatment.

How Long Do Side Effects Last

Many side effects go away fairly quickly, but some might take months or even years to go away completely. These are called late effects.

Sometimes the side effects can last a lifetime, such as when chemo causes long-term damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, or reproductive organs. Certain types of chemo sometimes cause delayed effects, such as a second cancer that may show up many years later.

People often become discouraged about how long their treatment lasts or the side effects they have. If you feel this way, talk to your cancer care team. You may be able to change your medicine or treatment schedule. They also may be able to suggest ways to reduce any pain and discomfort you have.

How Chemotherapy Causes Side Effects

Chemotherapy damages dividing cells. Cancer cells divide much more often than most normal cells. So chemotherapy damages cancer cells and can destroy them.

But some types of normal cells divide very often too. This happens in tissues that need a steady supply of new cells, such as the skin, hair and nails. Chemotherapy can also damage these cells, and this causes side effects. But the damaged normal tissues can repair themselves and recover.

These are some of the most common side effects:

You May Like: Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials 2021

/ Will My Head Get Cold More Quickly Without Hair

Everyone who has had chemotherapy knows that a bald head cools off faster. You dont just wear a wig or hats and scarves after chemo to conceal your hair loss, but also to keep your head warm. At night especially, you might feel cold, especially during the autumn and winter months. So consider wearing a nightcap and choose a model in a breathable fabric without irritating elastic or rough stitches. Chemo can make your scalp dry and sensitive and even the slightest friction can cause irritation.

How Can Parents Help

#chemotherapy and #radiotherapy effects on human body

Cancer treatment has come a long way. But it can be hard for kids and teens to cope with the sometimes painful or uncomfortable side effects. Fortunately, doctors have many ways to make treatments easier to manage.

Your child also might feel the emotional effects of having a serious illness. Answer questions and help explain what’s going on in an age-appropriate way. Turn to the care team when needed. A hospital support group, child life specialist, social worker, or psychologist from the team can help your child and your whole family before, during, and after cancer treatment.

You also can find information and support online at:

Also Check: Rare Form Of Breast Cancer

Significance Of Cupping Therapy:

Cupping therapy helps to increase the blood flow to sore areas in muscles. the provides necessary nutrients to the areas being treated and promotes healing. Cupping therapy can provide pain relief and help ease the symptoms of many common conditions of the bones and muscles. It does do not this by exciting small nerves inside muscles so that they release pain-killing chemicals. Cupping Therapy can be very relaxing and help to reduce muscular restrictions, scars, and adhesions, to decrease swelling, and improve range of motion.

How To Deal With Cancer

When youre struggling with cancer, treatments and the challenges that come with a diagnosis, it may be difficult to adjust to hair loss and other changes to your body and appearance. But there are ways to prepare for and deal with hair loss when it occurs. Here are 12 ways to help cope with cancer-related hair loss:

Give yourself time. Losing your hair may be difficult to accept. It may take time to adjust to how you look, then more time to feel good about yourself again. Its okay to feel upset. At the same time, understand that losing your hair is usually temporary and hair will re-grow after you complete treatment.

Remember youre still you. Losing your hair and experiencing other physical changes brought on by cancer and its treatment may come as a shock. It may be disorienting to look in the mirror and not recognize yourself. Remember that youre still the same person on the inside. Try to celebrate who you are and focus on those qualities.

Prepare ahead for hair changes. Before you begin cancer treatment, prepare in advance for changes to your hair. Talk to your doctor about what to expect. Meet with a stylist who is familiar with cancer-related hair loss. Some people choose to wear head coverings, and others dont. Choose whatever feels most comfortable for you. It also helps to think about how you will respond to reactions from others.

You May Like: Mammary Gland Cancer In Dogs

Also Check: How Fast Does Lung Cancer Spread

When Will Your Hair Grow Back

For Chemotherapy

The time it takes for noticeable hair regrowth after chemo varies from person-to-person. That being said, generally you will begin to notice your hair growing back after two to three weeks, albeit only slightly. After around a month or so your hair should begin to grow naturally at a normal rate, and after around two months post-chemo, you hair will be around an inch in length. It is important to note that hair in other areas that may have fallen out, such as the eye lashed, may take longer to grow back than hair on the head.

For Whole Brain Radiation

If you underwent whole brain radiation and lost your hair as a result then you will likely experience a longer time waiting before noticing any hair growth. This type of treatment is more damaging to the hair follicles than chemotherapy, meaning it can take up to six months before even an inch of hair grows. The new hair may also be thinner, and there is a chance of a bald spot appearing.

For Tamoxifen

The effect of Tamoxifen on the hair will last as long as the drug is administered, which can sometimes be for five year durations. That being said, it is possible for the thinning of the hair caused by this medication to subside a year into the treatment.

The video below shows the week-by-week progress of hair growth after chemotherapy:

Read Also: Foods To Boost Immune System During Chemo

What Is A Cupping Therapy

Acute Complications of Chemotherapy (side effects, adverse effects)

Its one of the oldest and most effective methods of releasing toxins from the bodys tissue and organs. cupping therapy is also known as hijama cupping, vacuum cupping, horn treatment, etc.

It is a practice in which the therapist will put special cups on the skin to create suction. This causes the tissue under the cup to be drawn up and swell causing an increase in blood flow to the affected part. improve blood flow under the cups draws impurities and toxins away from the nearby tissues and organs toward the surface for elimination.

Read Also: Natural Remedies For Neuropathy From Chemo

Although She Expected To Feel Sick After Her Chemotherapy The Anti

For many the medication meant they felt nausea without being sick, but others vomited. One man said that the hospital environment and the smell of the sterile wipes worsened his nausea and he recovered better at home. A woman said she vomited because she miscalculated when to take her first anti-sickness pill. A woman who had tried acupuncture believed it reduced the amount of anti-emetic she needed.

Decrease In Blood Cell Counts:

Why it happens: Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body, white blood cells help fight infection, and platelets help stop bleeding. These normal, healthy cells divide rapidly, just like the cancer cells, which is why chemo often affects these benign cells in addition to the cancer cells.

How to handle anemia :

  • Get at least eight hours of sleep each night
  • Take short naps during the day
  • Limit your activities by setting priorities of what you need to get completed for the day
  • Accept help when your family and friends offer
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that contains all the calories and protein your body needs to keep your weight up and repair tissues that have been harmed by the chemo

How to handle infections :

  • Wash your hands with soap and water
  • Carry hand sanitizer
  • Use sanitizing wipes to clean surfaces and items that you touch
  • Be gentle and thorough when you wipe after a bowel movement
  • Take good care of your skin and clean cuts right away
  • Stay away from people who are sick or crowds
  • Wash raw vegetables and fruits before eating them
  • Do not eat raw or undercooked fish, seafood, meat, chicken, or eggs
  • If you are a pet owner, have someone else clean up animal waste
  • Do not get a flu shot or other vaccine without first checking with your cancer doctor or nurse.

How to handle a low platelet count:

Your doctor or nurse will order blood tests to find out your blood counts throughout your chemo treatment.

Recommended Reading: Pain Radiating From Hip Down Leg

About Side Effects Of Chemotherapy

There are more than 100 different chemotherapy drugs. This page tells you about the side effects that they may cause. But different drugs cause different side effects. Your doctor or nurse will tell you about specific side effects of your own treatment.

Its important to remember that you probably won’t get every side effect listed. For some people the effects are mild. Sometimes the side effects of chemo can be unpleasant, but it can help to remember that:

  • most side effects are short term
  • theyll begin to go once the treatment has finished
  • you can have medicines to reduce most side effects

Let your nurse or doctor know if you have side effects that are troubling you.

Breathlessness And Looking Pale

Tackling the long

Chemotherapy makes the level of red blood cells fall . Red blood cells contain haemoglobin, which carries oxygen around the body. When the level of red blood cells is low you have less oxygen going to your cells. This can make you breathless and look pale. Tell your doctor or nurse if you feel breathless.

You have regular blood tests to check your red blood cell levels. You might need a blood transfusion if the level is very low. After a transfusion, you will be less breathless and less pale.

You can also feel tired and depressed when your blood count is low and feel better once it is back to normal. The levels can rise and fall during your treatment. So it can feel like you are on an emotional and physical roller coaster.

Don’t Miss: What Are Good Snacks For Chemo Patients

Late Side Effects Of Chemotherapy

Most chemotherapy side effects are temporary and disappear once your treatment is over. For some people chemotherapy can cause long term changes in the body months or years after treatment.

Many people feel more tired than usual for a long time after chemotherapy treatment. This is most likely to happen after a lot of treatment, or very intensive treatment. For example, after high dose chemotherapy or if you are having a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.

After intensive treatment, you are likely to have a lower resistance to infection for quite a long time. This will gradually get back to normal, but can take some months.

In some cases chemotherapy can cause infertility.

How Much Does Chemotherapy Cost

It depends on the type of chemotherapy, how much you get, and how often you get it. It also depends on where you live, and whether you get treatment at home, in an office clinic, or during a hospital stay. Make sure to read your health insurance policy to find out exactly what it will and wonât pay for, and whether you can go to a doctor that you choose for your chemotherapy treatment.

Show Sources

NIH National Cancer Institute: âRadiation Therapy for Cancer,â âBiological Therapies for Cancer,â âChemotherapy and You: Support for People With Cancer.â

National Cancer Society: âWhat Is Targeted Cancer Therapy?â

OncoLink.org: âIntraperitoneal Chemotherapy .â

Recommended Reading: Chemo For Prostate Cancer Survival Rate

Chemotherapy’s Potential Effects On The Sexual Organs

Many patients, both men and women, find that chemotherapy affects their sex organs as well as their ability to have sex. Your age and general health will influence how the drugs will affect your sexual function. The NCI provides the following advice for coping with sexual problems associated with cancer and chemotherapy:

Research has also shown that chemotherapy can affect cognitive function, such as how you think and remember things. This is something called “chemo-brain.” While people seem to recover from these changes over time, these vague “thinking problems” are nonetheless very disturbing to both the patient and the family. Be certain to talk to your doctor if you believe you or your loved one is having trouble thinking or remembering things after receiving chemotherapy.

Questions To Ask The Health Care Team

Long-Term Side Effects of Chemotherapy | Collateral Damage: An Overview

Consider asking your health care team these questions:

  • What physical side effects are likely based on my specific chemotherapy plan? When will they likely begin?

  • How can these side effects be prevented or managed?

  • Who should I tell when a side effect appears or gets worse? How can I contact them during regular office hours and after hours?

  • Are there specific side effects I should tell the doctor about right away?

  • Would it be helpful for me to track my side effects? What are ways I can do that?

  • Who can I talk with if I’m feeling anxious or upset about having chemotherapy?

  • If I’m having side effects that affect my nutrition, can you recommend an oncology dietitian?

  • What are other ways I can take care of myself during the treatment period?

  • Could this treatment affect my sex life? If so, how and for how long?

  • Could this treatment affect my ability to become pregnant or have a child? If so, should I talk with a fertility specialist before cancer treatment begins?

  • What are the potential long-term effects of this type of chemotherapy?

  • If I’m worried about managing the financial costs of cancer care, who can help me?

  • After chemotherapy is completed, what will my follow-up care plan be?

Recommended Reading: What To Expect After Chemo

How Long Does Chemotherapy Last

That depends on:

  • The type of cancer you have
  • How far along it is
  • The goal of treatment: cure, control growth, or ease pain
  • The type of chemotherapy
  • The way your body responds to the treatment

You may have chemotherapy in âcycles,â which means a period of treatment and then a period of rest. For example, a 4-week cycle may be 1 week of treatment and then 3 weeks of rest. The rest allows your body to make new healthy cells. Once a cycle has been planned out, itâs better not to skip a treatment, but your doctor may suggest it if side effects are serious. Then your medical team will likely plan a new cycle to help you get back on track.

Why Does Chemotherapy Cause Side Effects

Chemotherapy works by targeting active cells. Active cells are cells that are growing and dividing as a part of the normal cell cycle. Both cancer cells and healthy cells are active cells going through the cell cycle. Cancer cells typically grow faster than normal, healthy cells, which means it is easier for chemotherapy to attack the cancer cells. But some normal cells will be damaged by the chemotherapy as well. These include cells in your blood, mouth, digestive system, and hair follicles.

Side effects happen when chemotherapy damages these healthy cells. For example, you might lose your hair or experience nausea and vomiting. For most types of chemotherapy, side effects do not show how well treatment is working.

Also Check: Free Gifts For Breast Cancer Patients

Chemo Brain And Stress

Many people experience mental changes after chemotherapy treatment. This is sometimes called chemo brain. You may have problems such as poor memory, trouble finding words, difficulty focusing. This can affect parts of your life, including caring for your family and managing your job.

Some things that help with chemo brain include keeping a calendar, writing everything down, and exercising your brain with puzzles and reading. Try to focus on 1 task at a time instead of more than 1 task. You can also work with an occupational therapist for cognitive behavioral rehabilitation. This is a treatment to help you if you have cognitive issues. Occupational therapists work in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Occupational and Physical Therapy. For more information about cognitive behavioral rehabilitation, talk with your healthcare provider for a referral.

Try to avoid having goals for yourself that are too high. This can add to your stress level and frustration. Most people say it takes 6 to 12 months after they finish chemotherapy before they truly feel like themselves again. Read the resource Managing Cognitive Changes for more information about managing chemo brain.

Practical Hints Regarding Neuropathy

Chemotherapy Drugs Cost
  • Tight shoes and socks can worsen pain and tingling, and may lead to sores that won’t heal. Wear soft, loose cotton socks and padded shoes.
  • If you have burning pain, cool your feet or hands in cold, but not icy, water for 15 minutes twice a day.
  • Massage your hands and feet, or have someone massage them for you, to improve circulation, stimulate nerves and temporarily relieve pain.

You May Like: Side Effects From Radiation Treatments

Latest news
Related news