There are many types of treatment available for cancer, and the type you receive will depend on the type of cancer you have and how advanced it is. Sometimes, a patient will only require one type of treatment, while others need a combination. Treatment for cancer can include strong medications through chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and various other methods. The intensity of treatment leads to many side effects.
Certain side effects that commonly affect most people include the following:
One of the main side effects of cancer treatment is fatigue or extreme tiredness. It is believed that more than 70% of cancer patients undergoing treatment experience fatigue. This can be a major problem affecting most people. It can severely affect normal life, as the patient would end up tired and not be able to do regular work comfortably.
2. Hair loss
Hair loss is one of the most common side effects of cancer treatment. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy affect the cells of the body, including hair follicle cells. As a result, hair falls off. Hair all over the body can be lost due to cancer treatment. This is temporary and once the treatment is complete, hair will grow back in around three months. During treatment, a cooling cap can be worn on the scalp. This can be helpful in preventing hair loss.
Medications for treating cancer are strong and they affect the gastrointestinal system and cause nausea. They can also cause vomiting. The nausea would be quite severe and anti-nausea medications may be needed. Studies have shown that nausea can be a psychological effect and being optimistic can help in reducing instances of nausea attack. Avoiding oily and fatty food can help to reduce nausea. Ginger tea and drinking sufficient water can be helpful. Alternate therapies like hypnosis and acupuncture can help in reducing the effects of nausea.
Chemotherapy medications are powerful and they can cause many side effects. Not all medications cause diarrhea. Medicines that treat cancer of the stomach, colon, and rectum are more likely to cause diarrhea. Consuming sufficient fluid with at least eight to 12 glasses of water daily can be helpful. Rice, banana, and applesauce can be consumed to keep the symptoms of diarrhea under check.
5. Decreased sex drive
Those who have cancer of the breast, prostate, bladder, rectum, ovary are more likely to face problems related to decreased sex drive. The effect of the treatment can have an impact on the hormonal system leading to decreased interest in sex. Since medicines may enter into the semen, using a condom is a must. In some people, recovery may take a few years.
This article on the main side effects of cancer treatment would have helped you understand what the different side effects of cancer treatment are and what can be done for alleviation.