Side Effects of Chemotherapy treatment vary from person to person, but still, there are a few side effects which most of the patients suffer from! A human body is made of trillions of cells in which the process of formation and destruction of cells goes on. But sometimes the body cells get infected, and over the period it grows into some disease, and most of the time it is cancer.

Whenever a person is diagnosed with cancer, the first option which the people have in their mind is chemotherapy. No doubt chemotherapy is one of the most suggested treatments for cancer but it doesn’t guarantee to be fruitful for all. Through Chemotherapy, the doctors aim to kill the cancer cells by giving an appropriate dose of drugs to the body. But just like other drugs, the chemotherapy drugs may also cause many side effects on the body as they can harm the healthy cells of the body during the treatment.

Although there are many side effects of chemotherapy drugs, these stats don’t go for all. Some people might have a short-term effect which ends with the end of treatment, some might have a lifelong impact on the body after the treatment, and some might experience no side effects after treatment (these are exceptional). These all side effects of chemotherapy for cancer vary according to the body type. Therefore, for the minimum results, doctors regulate the percentage of dose as per the patient’s body. Read the complete article and get to know about the significant side effects of chemotherapy.

Major Side Effects of Chemotherapy

#1 Nervous System

side effects of chemotherapy

The central nervous system regulates our body sensations through the understanding of patterns and with the coordination among the various organs. But after the treatment of cancer through chemotherapy, people might suffer from “Chemo Brain” also referred as “Chemo Fog”. Chemo Brain is the state of mind in which a person faces a problem with their memory and concentration level. Also, they might experience a dip in thinking capacity and constant mood swings, it one of the most seen side effect of chemotherapy.

#2 Muscular System

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After going through the treatment or during the treatment, you may feel fatigued all the time. This is because of the drugs which are given to your body. The critical effects which the muscular system face after chemotherapy are:

  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Slow reflex responses
  • Feel tired and trembling
  • Difficulty in balancing the body while walking

#3 Integumentary System

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Many kinds of chemotherapy drugs directly affect the hair follicles which is the cause behind the hair loss. The hair loss starts at the start of treatment, but this is temporary. As soon as the cancer treatment is over, the body regains its stability and hair growth gets underway. Note that hair loss can occur anywhere on the body that can hands, legs, eyelashes, or anything.

Another major side effect of chemotherapy which the patient face during and after the treatment is on the nails. The nails may turn into brown or yellow color because of the drugs which are given to the body. Also, the growth rate of nails slows down, and possibly you can observe/ experience that your nails are getting separated from the nail bed.

Skin also requires proper attention during the treatment as skin experience itchiness, dryness, burning sensation and rashes during the complete course. To reduce the skin irritation, kindly keep the following things in mind:

  • Use special ointments (prescribed by the doctor)
  • Cover the whole body with clothes
  • Don’t let your body to get in direct contact with the sunlight

#4 Circulatory and Immune System

sideeffects of chemotherapy

Doctors conduct a routine checkup of blood count as the chemotherapy drugs can also harm the healthy cells of the body. Also, the drugs may damage the bone marrow, where the RBCs are produced. The deficiency of RBCs can lead to Anemia. The primary symptoms which are observed during Anemia are lightheadedness, difficulty thinking, sensing cold, weakness, tiredness, pale skin.

The person undergoing Chemotherapy may also observe a depletion in the WBC. Due to this the efficiency of the body to fight with the virus, bacteria, germs decreases and you may feel sick almost all the time. Also, the platelet count comes down. For a normal person, the platelet count is in between 150,000 to 450,000. The depletion in the platelet count lowers the tendency of the body to clot blood because of which person can experience nosebleeds, blood in vomit, and more substantial menstruation.

Heart – the central part of the circulatory system is also affected by chemo. The chemo drugs can harm the heart in two types.

  • weakening your heart muscle
  • disturb your heart rhythm

These two effects make a notable impact on the pumping ability of the heart which may become a cause for a heart attack. So, people preferring to undergo chemotherapy should be healthy and strong enough to experience all these.

#5 Reproductive System

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The most like symptoms which a person may face undergoing chemotherapy are fatigue, hormone fluctuations, anxiety, etc. Both men and women can have issues with their sexual life after chemo.

Women can experience irregular and long periods, irregular menopause, dryness on vaginal tissues, painful and uncomfortable sex. During the intercourse, there is a possibility of vaginal infections too. According to the stats, many women have completely or temporarily become infertile after the treatment.

The chemo drugs in men may affect the sperm and sperm count. Just like women, men also possess the possibility to face temporary or complete infertility. But these are just stats and probabilities, we have seen many patients who have undergone chemo and are currently enjoying an active sex life with proper health. This Side effect of chemotherapy is very disturbing for young patients. 

#6 Skeletal and Psychological System

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The skeleton, full of bones is also affected by the chemo drugs. Osteoporosis – the common disease which the people might suffer from after Chemotherapy. In osteoporosis, the calcium level of the bones is dropped which cause the loss of bone mass with aging, bone fractures and breaks. The major suffering parts are the spine,  pelvis, hips, and wrists. Also, the disease Osteoporosis is more effective in women compared to men, especially the post-menopausal women. So, to get yourself away from Osteoporosis, eat healthy and calcium-rich food.

Psychological errors like fear, anxiety, stress, depression, etc may arise during the treatment. So, to overcome these errors go for massage and meditation therapy. These therapies will also help you in keeping yourself away from emotional complexities. Also read about different conventional and non-conventional methods to treat cancer.

#7 Digestive System

side effects of chemotherapy

The digestive system has a lot of effects because of the chemo drugs. First, you may experience difficulty in chewing and swallowing because of the mouth sores. Also, the food becomes tasteless which leads to erratic weight loss. The most usual effect seen in the digestive system by chemo drugs is on the gastrointestinal tract. Nausea is the common symptom to this which results in vomiting. So, be attentive and inform the doctors about the errors.

Other common side effects of chemotherapy which might be experienced by the patient are constipation, loose or hard stools, acidity, dehydration, and lack of energy.

#8 Excretion System

Excretion system is responsible for flushing out all the drugs which were inserted into the body. During the excretion process, there is a possibility that kidney and bladder cells get irritated or damaged. The symptoms like limited urination, headache, swelling of hands, swelling feet and ankles will tell you whether your kidney is damaged or not. To avoid this situation, drink plenty of fluids.

Hope we made you aware about the side effects of chemotherapy. Remember these effects varies from person to person. Now, if you are searching or thinking of any alternative of chemotherapy, then you must read about Immunotherapy.  

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