Effects of Treatment
Cancer treatment is geared toward positive outcomes, such as removing the cancer, reducing tumor size and preventing recurrence. 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. Treatments are available to counteract that.
- 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.
- Sterility: Some chemotherapy may result in sterility. Washington University has an active fertility preservation clinic to help patients plan around treatment for future fertility.
Your doctor’s office should have a fact sheet on the usual side effects of your specific type of treatment.
Targeted therapy side effects:
While generally well tolerated, you may experience headache or elevated blood pressure.
Sleep disorders: More common in people with cancer, sleep may be disturbed by the cancer, pain, or certain drugs or treatments.