Cancer treatments, depending on the patient’s body, medicines and the kind of treatments, can cause various side effects. Side effects occur when healthy cells of the body start getting damaged because of the treatment.
Through Radiation Therapy:
Radiation therapy is used in high doses to destroy Cancer cells. It affects the area of the body on which it is targeted to. Side effects involve damaging of healthy cells. This can, for example, lead to hair loss when the skull is exposed to radiation. With advancement in technology and science, radiation therapy has achieved more precision which reduced this side effect. Skin changes are also experienced after therapy like dryness, itching or blistering but they normally go away after a few weeks. It also results in general fatigue.
Chemotherapy is the most commonly done and powerful Cancer treatment. But along with a high possibility of curing Cancer, the drugs come with side effects that involve every single body part and affect each individual who goes through Chemotherapy. The severity of these effects can vary according to body types and prior medical conditions. The side effects are briefed in the picture below:
COMMON SIDE EFFECTS:
● Neutropenia: This is the condition of low white blood cells which can occur in a patient post-chemotherapy. White blood cells help the human body fight against infection, so it is necessary to get checked for any kind of infection or fever during chemotherapy.
● Lymphedema: Removal of lymph nodes during surgery or damage caused to a lymph during radiation therapy have a possibility of incomplete drainage of lymph fluids. The fluid can collect under the skin and cause swelling in a body part.
● Nausea and Vomiting: Various drugs and therapies can cause regular nausea and vomiting in the patient. This can be controlled through medicines, hydrating drinks and relaxation exercises.
● ‘Chemo Brain’: Another thing affected through Cancer treatment is the patient’s memory and ability to think. This can make basic things like daily tasks extremely difficult to be executed by the patient.
● Pain: Both Cancer and its treatment causes bodily pain. The patient becomes unable to perform normal tasks and it also lowers their quality of life.
There are many other side effects that can occur in the post-cancer-treatment period on a long-term basis. These are:
● Heart problems
● Lung problems
● Endocrine system problems (menopause, infertility, hormonal issues)
● Bone, Joint and Soft tissue problems
● Effect on Brain, Nerves and Spinal Cord
● Digestion problems
● Emotional difficulties
Although side effects are widely common across all Cancer patients, most of them are easily treatable through medicine and extensive care. Cancer, even after being cured, leaves a person vulnerable to many problems but taking immediate and proper medical action against them will definitely give positive results.