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Understanding the Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Dr. Raetasha Dabney explains the various side effect experienced by patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Irving, TX – February 13, 2020 –Chemotherapy is a treatment for cancer that involves the use of drugs to destroy cancerous cells in the body and prevent them from growing. Most chemotherapy drugs come with severe side effects. But doctors recommend it because the benefits outweigh these side effects.

“People receive chemotherapy as part of a treatment plan that may include other options such as radiation therapy and surgery,” says Dr. Dabney. “Treatment with chemotherapy can shrink tumors before a surgical procedure is performed, prevent cancer recurrence, or slow its progression.”

Here are some of the side effects of chemotherapy:

  • Vomiting and nausea – These are common side effects of chemotherapy. To help the patient reduce these symptoms, doctors will prescribe antiemetic drugs. According to a study, a patient may use ginger to boost the effectiveness of antiemetic drugs.
  • Loss of hair, flaky nails, and dry, sore skin – Some patients will experience loss of hair weeks after commencing chemotherapy. Now with Cold Caps, a patient can put on a unique cap to cool the scalp to help reduce hair loss.
  • Nails can become brittle and flaky while the skin will be dry and sore. When this happens, you should avoid direct sunlight, use sunblock, and wear protective clothing.
  • Hearing impairment – Some chemotherapy drugs have toxins that may affect one’s nervous system causing ringing in the ears, hearing impairment, and balance problems. Consult your doctor if you experience such symptoms.
  • Bleeding – Chemotherapy treatment can lower your platelet count, which could result in the blood not clotting well. This can cause you to bruise easily, bleed more than usual, or have frequent nosebleeds and bleeding gums.

“Your chemotherapy outlook will depend on the type, location, stage of cancer, and your overall health,” says Dr. Dabney. “Because of the adverse side effects that may happen, you might need to change your lifestyle habits and daily routine as you undergo treatment. It is advised to discuss these details with your doctor about your treatment and what to expect.”

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