Effects of Treatment

Cancer treatment is geared toward positive outcomes, such as removing the cancer, reducing tumor size, preventing recurrence and cure. However, many of the treatments used to accomplish that have their own challenges for our bodies. Prior knowledge of what to expect helps in treatment decision-making and getting the support you need to deal with these effects.

Fatigue: The most common effect of cancer treatment, this fatigue is different than the kind healthy people experience. It can result from any type of cancer treatment.

Pain: Tumors, surgery, and other treatments can all cause pain with cancer

Chemotherapy Side Effects:

  • Low Blood Counts: Many chemotherapy drugs can cause red and white blood cells to be low, resulting in a high risk for infection and anemia.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Siteman has considerable experience managing these so cancer therapy can continue and you can live your normal life.
  • Peripheral Neuropathy: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a set of symptoms caused by damage to the nerves that control the sensation of our hands and feet, causing numbness, tingling and pain.

Your doctor’s office should have a fact sheet on the usual side effects of your specific type of treatment and what can be done to counteract them.

Side Effects from total thyroidectomy:  If the thyroid gland is removed, loss of its function will result in symptoms such as fatigue, sensitivity or cold, muscle weakness, muscle aches, thinning hair, depression, or impaired memory. Replacing lost thyroid with a synthetic thyroid hormone helps balance these out.

Nutritional needs: Patients with head and neck cancers when surgery or other treatments interfere with swallowing and eating, may have special nutritional needs. Your oncologist will help make sure these are addressed.

Sleep Disorders: More common in people with cancer, sleep may be disturbed by the cancer, pain, or certain drugs or treatments.

Targeted therapy can cause a rash and skin changes during treatment.