Risks and Side Effects

Risks and side effects of chemotherapy

Chemotherapy risks typically relate to side effects caused by the breakdown of normal, healthy cells or by the response of the body to the particular drugs being used. Oncologists know how to avoid many side effects associated with the administered Chemotherapy. They can also use medicines to treat those side effects, reducing their discomfort and damage.

Side effects can be short-term and vanish after treatments for Chemotherapy have finished, or they may be long term that may not occur for months after Chemotherapy has stopped. Several factors can cause or modify a patient’s side effects, and these can keep changing during Chemotherapy.

Most Chemotherapy side effects are attributable to the destruction of healthy cells. Since Chemotherapy affects all rapidly developing cells, it may affect any rapidly growing cells such as bone marrow, digestive tract lining, hair follicle, and lining cells of the reproductive tract.

List of side effects

You may have a lot of side effects, some, or none at all. Some of the common side effects of Chemotherapy are:

  • Anaemia,
  • Appetite Changes
  • Bleeding
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Eye Changes
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fluid retention
  • Hair Loss
  • Infection
  • Infertility
  • Mouth and Throat Changes
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Nervous System Changes
  • Pain
  • Sexual Changes
  • Skin and Nail Changes
  • Urinary, Kidney, or Bladder Changes

Chemotherapy is a powerful medicine, and avoiding close contact with the medications is best for people without cancer. That is why doctors and oncology nurses wear gloves, goggles, gowns and sometimes masks. These products are disposed of in separate bags or bins when the treatment session is over.

The drugs can remain inside your body for up to a week after each Chemotherapy session. This depends on the type of medications that are used. Then, the medications are released into urine, faeces and vomit. They could also be carried to other bodily secretions such as saliva, sweat, vaginal discharge, semen, and breast milk.