Chemotherapy can be a challenging phase in anyone’s life, if you are someone who is dealing with cancer and is weighing their options then don't worry we got you sorted. Today we will be talking about some of the common side effects of chemotherapy that most people face.
Chemotherapy works on active cells of cancer in your body. Active cells are cells that are growing and dividing into more of the same type of cell. Cancer cells are active, but so are some healthy cells. These include cells in your blood, mouth, digestive system, and hair follicles. Chemotherapy has a lot of side effects, some that can stay with you for a long time, be sure of your treatment options as you can not back out of them at a later stage.
Side Effects Of Chemotherapy
After talking about chemotherapy in brief now let us get into the details of the side effects that you might face after chemotherapy.
Tiredness also commonly known as fatigue is one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy. A lot of people are often at a loss of energy to perform basic tasks.
Here are some things you can do:
- get plenty of rest
- avoid doing tasks or activities that you do not feel up to
- Avoid interaction with a lot of people as that could drain your energy
Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy, although it does not happen to everyone and even if you do suffer from hair loss due to chemo it is not permanent and your hair will start to grow back at its regular pace.
It's common that you lose hair from your head but can lose it from other parts of your body, including your arms, legs, and face. Hair loss is almost always temporary. Your hair should start to grow back soon after your treatment has finished.
Chemotherapy takes up a lot of your body’s ability to fight another type of infection. This makes you more likely to get infections that could make you seriously ill while you are battling cancer. Which makes it more essential for you to take care of yourself. Here are some things that you can do to take care of your body
- washing your hands regularly with soap and water
- trying to avoid close contact with people who have an infection
- having the annual flu jab
Chemotherapy lowers the number of red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. If your red blood cell count drops too low, you'll develop anemia.
Symptoms of anemia include:
- tiredness and lack of energy
- general fatigue
- shortness of breath
- noticeable heartbeats
- a pale complexion
You can easily prevent anemia by including a high amount of iron in your diet, here are some food items that are rich in iron.
- meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb
- beans and nuts
- dried fruit, such as dried apricots
- wholegrains, such as brown rice
- dark-green leafy vegetables, such as watercress and curly kale
A lot of times chemotherapy can make the lining of the mouth sore and irritated. It is common in patients going through chemo.
Symptoms of a sore mouth are:
- the inside of your mouth feeling sore
- mouth ulcers
- discomfort when eating, drinking
- a dry mouth
- reduced sense of taste
- bad breath
To help in dealing with sore mouths avoiding eating spicy and salty food.
Loss of appetite
A lot of people lose their appetite during chemotherapy but it is essential to eat healthy meals for your body to recover and fight back the disease.
- eat smaller meals
- eat healthy snacks
- eat light meals on the day of your treatment
- sip drinks slowly through a straw
Memory and concentration problems
A lot of people have problems with their short-term memory, concentration, and attention span during and after chemotherapy, the medication that you have to undertake during long chemo sessions may have this impact on you.
To keep a hold of things you can use lists, post-it notes, calendars and can also set reminders on your phone. Doing some mental exercises, eating well, and getting enough sleep can also be beneficial.
A lot of people face sleep issues during and after chemotherapy, either they are sleeping for long hours or they are unable to get sleep at all.
The following may help to improve your sleep:
- set regular times for going to bed and waking up
- relax before bedtime, you can also listen to sleep meditation
- Don't be stressed, avoid thinking too much
- Do not drink coffee after 6 in the evening as caffeine can keep you up at night.
We hope that everyone who is thinking about chemotherapy finds this information beneficial. Chemotherapy can change your life in a lot of ways so be sure about your options. We hope that anyone who is dealing with cancer gets healthy soon.