What To Expect Before During And After Chemotherapy Treatment
You may receive chemotherapy during a hospital stay, at home or as an outpatient at your doctors office, clinic or hospital. Outpatient means you do not stay overnight. Treatment schedules for chemotherapy vary widely.
How often and how long you get chemotherapy depends on:
- Your type of cancer and how advanced it is.
- Whether chemotherapy is used to cure your cancer, control its growth or ease symptoms.
- The type of chemotherapy you are getting.
- How your body responds to the chemotherapy.
You may receive chemotherapy in cycles. A cycle is a period of chemotherapy treatment followed by a period of rest. For instance, you might receive chemotherapy every day for 1 week followed by 3 weeks with no chemotherapy. These 4 weeks make up one cycle. The rest period gives your body a chance to recover and build new healthy cells.
There Are Different Types Of Chemotherapy
I have metastatic disease now, meaning cancer has spread to more than one place in my body. So I dont get the type of chemo most people think of through an IV, typically in the hospital, called infusion chemo. Instead, for my chemo, I take pills every day. And I only have to go to the hospital once a month for an injection. The injection helps promote healthy bone growth since the cancer is attacking my bones.
With the pills, I still have the usual and unusual side effects of chemo, although they are milder than before when I had infusion chemo. Pain is a way of life, and only time will tell how Ill feel as my condition progresses.
What Are Common Side Effects Of Chemotherapy
The side effects you experience while on chemotherapy depend on which drug or combination of drugs are prescribed. Different drugs cause different side effects. And each person’s experience is different. People may not experience the same side effects even when taking the same drug. And you can have different side effects than you did in the past if you take the same drug again. That is why it is important to talk with your cancer care team regularly about the side effects you are worried about or are experiencing. Tell them about all the side effects you notice. It may be helpful to track side effects over time and share that information with your care providers. Common side effects of chemotherapy include:
Fatigue. Fatigue is feeling tired or exhausted even if you get enough sleep. It is the most common side effect of chemotherapy. Learn about how to cope with fatigue.
Hair loss. Some types of chemotherapy, but not all, cause hair loss. Hair on your body may come out a little at a time or in large clumps. Hair loss usually starts after the first several weeks of chemotherapy. It tends to increase 1 to 2 months into chemotherapy. Your doctor can predict the risk of hair loss based on the drugs and doses you are receiving. Learn more about managing hair loss.Pain.Chemotherapy sometimes causes pain. This can include:
Pain from nerve damage, such as burning, numbness, or shooting pains, usually in the fingers and toes
Giving pain-relieving medications
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What Happens During A Root Canal
There are many steps involved in a root canal. The exact process and steps will vary depending on your situation. But here are the basic steps you can expect.
Before starting your root canal, the dentist will take X-rays. This will help the dentist see how much damage there is and whether a root canal is the best option.
Practical Hints For Menopausal Symptoms
- If you have breast cancer, we DON’T recommend hormone replacement therapy.
- Eat soy products or take vitamin E to reduce hot flashes.
- Your doctor may recommend prescription medications for hot flashes.
- Wear light cotton pajamas to help prevent overheating when sleeping.
- Use vaginal moisturizers on a regular basis or other water-based lubricants as needed, especially during and before sexual activity. These products will help with vaginal dryness and irritation.
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What Does Chemotherapy Do
It depends on the kind of cancer you have and how far along it is.
- Cure: In some cases, the treatment can destroy cancer cells to the point that your doctor can no longer detect them in your body. After that, the best outcome is that they never grow back again, but that doesnât always happen.
- Control: In some cases, it may only be able to keep cancer from spreading to other parts of your body or slow the growth of cancer tumors.
- Ease symptoms: In some cases, chemotherapy canât cure or control the spread of cancer and is simply used to shrink tumors that cause pain or pressure. These tumors often continue to grow back.
Thinking About Taking Part In A Clinical Trial
Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies that are done to get a closer look at promising new treatments or procedures. Clinical trials are one way to get state-of-the art cancer treatment. In some cases, they may be the only way to get access to newer treatments. They are also the best way for doctors to learn better methods to treat cancer. Still, they are not right for everyone.
If you would like to learn more about clinical trials that might be right for you, start by asking your doctor if your clinic or hospital conducts clinical trials, or see Clinical Trials to learn more.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
American Joint Committee on Cancer. Breast. In: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 8th ed. New York, NY: Springer 2017:589.
Cristofanilli M, Pierga JY, Reuben J, Rademaker A, Davis AA, Peeters DJ et al. The clinical use of circulating tumor cells enumeration for staging of metastatic breast cancer : International expert consensus paper. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2019 Feb 134:39-45.
Cuzick, J et al. Anastrozole for prevention of breast cancer in high-risk postmenopausal women : an international, double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet. 2014 383 :1041 1048.
Last Revised: September 18, 2019
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What Are The Side Effects Of Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer
Chemotherapy side effects vary based on what kind of drugs you take and for how long. Common chemotherapy side effects include:
- Numbness or tingling.
During chemotherapy treatment, many people still work, exercise and care for their families. For others, the treatment can be exhausting and time-consuming. It may be difficult to keep up with usual activities.
Speak with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of chemotherapy. You may manage side effects with supportive medications, such as anti-nausea drugs. Chemotherapy side effects generally go away after you finish treatment.
Talk To Your Doctor About Pre
In some cases, doctors may prescribe medication to ease symptoms before they start. Before beginning your chemotherapy treatment, ask your doctor about possibly pre-treating symptoms you may be concerned about, such as nausea.
Keep in mind that every treatment center is different. To prepare, ask your healthcare professional what amenities and services will be available.
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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.
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
What To Expect After Chemotherapy For Lung Cancer
Chemotherapy is commonly used to treat lung cancer, either on its own or in combination with other treatments, such as surgery and radiation therapy. Chemo medications work by targeting and destroying rapidly dividing cells. Because cancer cells tend to divide more quickly than most healthy cells, chemotherapy can be an effective treatment for many types of cancer. Additionally, unlike surgery and radiation therapy, which are localized treatments, chemotherapy is a systemic treatment. As such, powerful chemo medications can circulate throughout the body and potentially reach cancer cells that have spread beyond the lungs.
If your lung cancer treatment plan includes chemotherapy, you may find it helpful to learn what you might expect both during your treatment and afterward. Knowledge is powerful in addition to easing some of your anxiety, it will help you feel more confident about the important journey that lies ahead. Of course, each persons experience with chemotherapy is different, so your best source of information is always your physician, who is familiar with your unique circumstances and can provide you with personalized advice.
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How To Regain Your Appetite
Here are some tips you can follow to make sure that you regain your appetite:
- Focus on your favorite foods. This is by going back to the foods that you liked most before undergoing the treatment.
- Try changing the look of your meal. This is done by making your food look more attractive to improve your appetite. You can do this by adding more colorful ingredients to your food.
- Take it slow. You are supposed to start working on a program that will slowly help you regain your appetite. This can be achieved by starting with small amounts of food and increasing with time.
- Pampering yourself. This is done by making your meal time the most important moment to you. Use the best glasses for drinks and other treats such as juice for your meal.
3. Trouble Swallowing
Only a few people will undergo this effect after chemotherapy. If you undergo chemotherapy of the neck or head or radiation therapy then you are likely to have difficulties swallowing. However, this may not last for a long time. Taking the right steps can help deal with this within a very short time.
Here is what to do:
- Process your food using a blender to make sure it is as soft as possible.
- Eat moistened and soft foods. Foods such as, applesauce, soup, or pudding are good for making swallowing easier.
- Try doing neck exercises as you swallow food. Twist you neck slowly as you swallow.
- Always consult your doctor about a plan that will be best for you.
4. Reduced Symptoms
Why Your Hair Falls Out
The answer is that most chemo drugs attack rapidly dividing cells and thats what your hair cells are. Your fingernails and toenails are also made up of rapidly dividing cells. Chemo can affect them as well.
Though hair loss is common during chemo and isnt just limited to your head it can affect the hair all over your body. The degree to which you experience hair loss depends on which medicine youre prescribed. Your doctor and the rest of your medical team can talk with you about what theyve noticed about hair loss associated with the particular drugs theyre prescribing.
Make sure you talk to the nurses and assistants you encounter in your chemo sessions and elsewhere during your treatment. They may have a broader perspective than your doctor has.
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How You Know Chemotherapy Is Working
During chemotherapy treatment, you see your doctor often. At these visits, you are likely to have physical exams, blood tests, and imaging tests. The results of all these tests let your doctor know how well your body is responding to the chemotherapy.
Its very important to remember that you cant tell how well chemotherapy is working based on side effects. Side effects have nothing to do with how well chemotherapy treatment is working.
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.
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Nausea Vomiting And Taste Changes
You may experience nausea and vomiting after your last chemotherapy treatment. It should go away in 2 to 3 weeks.
Your appetite may continue to be affected due to taste changes you may have experienced during your treatment. Your taste should go back to normal 1 to 2 months after chemotherapy. In the meantime, there are things you can do to help with these changes. Talk with your nurse if youd like more information.
Root Canal Before And After: What To Expect
Root canals are a standard dental procedure many people undergo at some point in their lives. But what is a root canal, and what happens in a root canal before and after the procedure? This article will explore the causes of root canals and the benefits of this procedure.
After the dentist has told you that you need a root canal, you can expect to undergo a treatment to clean out the infected tooth pulp and seal the space with a filling.
Depending on the extent of the infection, you may experience pain and swelling in the area around the tooth.
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Problems With Different Organs
Some chemotherapy drugs can cause long term problems with specific body organs.
There are drugs that can cause heart damage or lung damage. But cancer doctors are aware of this. You will have tests before and during your treatment so your doctor can keep an eye on your reaction to the drug.
There may be some chemotherapy drugs your doctor won’t use if you have a heart condition. Your doctors will also check you for these effects for some years after your treatment.
Preparing For Lasting Side Effects
As chemotherapy destroys cancer cells, it also harms healthy cells. This includes cells in your digestive system and hair, along with cells that produce blood.
In turn, chemo can cause various side effects. Some side effects go away quickly, while other side effects can last longer than the actual treatment. These effects can last months or years.
This means that chemotherapy can technically take much longer beyond the treatment itself. Heres what you can do to prepare for these side effects in the long term:
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Questions To Ask Before Chemotherapy Starts
- Prior to chemotherapy begins is a great time to ask concerns. These might consist of:
- Discovering more about the schedule and side effects of your particular treatment
- Getting after-hours contact numbers for your doctor or nurse
- Where you will receive treatment, such as the particular structure and floor
Find a list of concerns you might have.
Before First Round Of Chemotherapy
Meeting your oncologist. Before you begin chemotherapy, you will meet with your medical oncologist. She or he will examine your medical records and do a health examination. You will also have tests done to help plan treatment. Your specific treatment depends upon:
- The type, size, and area of the cancer
- Your basic health
- Other aspects that are different for each person
A lot of chemotherapy treatments are given in duplicating cycles. The length of a cycle depends on the treatment being given. The majority of cycles range from 2 to 6 weeks. The number of treatment dosages set up within each cycle also differs depending upon the drugs being given.
For example, each cycle may include just 1 treatment on the first day. Or, a cycle may contain more than 1 dosage given weekly or everyday. After finishing 2 cycles, a re-evaluation is typically done to make sure the treatment is working. Most people have numerous cycles of chemotherapy. Or the treatment cycles may continue for as long as the chemotherapy works well.
Giving permission for chemotherapy. Your doctor will talk with you about the risks and benefits of chemotherapy. If you decide to have it, your group will ask you to sign an informed permission kind. Signing the informed permission form indicates:
- You give written approval for treatment.
- Your team provided you information on your treatment options.
- You opt to have chemotherapy.
- You comprehend that the treatment is not ensured to offer the desired outcomes.
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What Happens During Chemotherapy Treatment
There are different ways you can receive chemotherapy. The most common way that chemotherapy drugs are given is through a needle into a vein. This is called intravenous or IV chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can also be taken as a pill, capsule, or liquid by mouth, as an injection or shot, or as a cream that is put directly on your skin. Learn more about the different kinds of chemotherapy.
During your first IV chemotherapy appointment, you should bring a friend or family member. They can support you and help you remember information. Sometimes you will be given medication before your chemotherapy treatment that can make you tired, so you may need someone who can drive you home.
You may also bring items that make your treatment time easier. For instance, considering bringing your phone, a tablet, books, or a blanket.
Before your treatment starts, you will:
Have a blood sample taken
Meet with your oncologist so they can check your health and blood test results
Meet the nurse or other health professionals who will give your treatment
Have your blood pressure, pulse, breathing, and temperature taken before starting treatment
Have your height and weight measured to find the right dose of chemotherapy
May have an IV tube, also called a catheter, put in your arm
To get the full benefit of chemotherapy, it is important to follow the schedule of treatments recommended by your doctor and manage other medications you’re taking.