The side effects of chemotherapy
The side effects of chemotherapy are difficult to predict, because patients may react differently during this treatment to stop the evolution of cancer.The manifestations of the body under the effect of chemotherapy varies depending on the duration of therapy prescribed dosages and personal medical history.
Many side effects are temporary, while others may persist long after the trigger.
The primary goal is to destroy the cancer cells to chemotherapy . Traditional methods of therapy aimed at eliminating diseased cells rapidly dividing , but in the process may be affected and healthy cells of the body.
Injuries of blood cells , for example , lead to the onset of side effects such as anemia , fatigue and infections . Chemotherapy can also affect the mucous membranes of cells , such as those in the mouth , throat or stomach.
In this context, mouth ulcers can occur , diarrhea and various disorders of the digestive system . Treating cancer chemotherapy often involves damage hair roots and scalp follicles , setting up temporary hair loss .
The patients react differently to chemotherapy , and therefore side effects are not the same in each case. Fortunately , the medical world has developed soft solutions to prevent and reduce possible side effects .
Chemotherapy possible side effects
Although the side effects of chemotherapy can be troublesome, most not life-threatening. Even so, some complications can be very serious and requires emergency medical intervention. For example, a decrease in the number fulminant white blood cells significantly increases vulnerability to a potentially fatal infection.
Patients undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia are at higher risk of serious infections. Symptoms of complications that can be life threatening
- Fever higher than 38 degrees Celsius;
- Breathing disorders;
- Chest pain;
- Flu symptoms (muscle pain);
- Bleeding gums and nosebleeds;
- Bleeding that does not stop the hemostasis;
- Oral ulcers affecting the consumption of food and liquids;
- Vomiting that persists after taking anti vomiting;
- More than 4 stools per day;
Heightened state of fatigue is a common side effect of chemotherapy, almost all patients experimentandu it at some time during treatment. Fatigue can be generalized or may occur following the fulfillment of mundane daily activities.
For this reason, patients undergoing chemotherapy should be enough rest and avoid effort. People with a job are advised to reduce their working hours, by the end of treatment. Extreme fatigue, accompanied by shortness of breath can be a sign of anemia.
Nausea and vomiting
Other common side effects of chemotherapy are nausea and vomiting . Approximately 50% of patients complain these unpleasant feelings during treatment. Your doctor prescribes medication to control the symptoms , called antiemetics .
Antiemetics may be administered in several forms , the most important being
- A tablet or capsule ;
- Injections ;
- Skin patch ;
Doctors advise patients to continue taking anti-emetics after symptoms stop to avoid a possible relapse. These drugs can have , but have their own side effects ( constipation , indigestion , insomnia and headache ) .
Hair loss is most known possible side effect of chemotherapy , setting up usually after 1-3 weeks after the first dose. Significant loss of hair occurs after 1-2 months of chemotherapy.
The scalp is the most commonly affected , even if the hair loss is possible in other parts of the body ( arms, legs and face ) .
Hamburg German researchers have developed a type of helmet designed to cool the scalp during chemotherapy , which reduces blood flow to the head and prevent hair fall by up to 70-90 % . Even so, this option is not available for all patients , its effectiveness depends on the type of cancer being treated .
For example , the headset can be used with many types of leukemia (eg acute lymphoblastic leukemia , multiple myeloma or non- Hodgkin ‘s lymphoma ) , as there is a high probability that cancer cells have spread to the skull .
Hair loss can have a traumatic effect , especially on women. The solution in this case may be wearing a synthetic wig to hair regeneration , with the completion of chemotherapy.
Statistics show that almost three thirds of patients the hair recovers after almost six months after cessation of treatment. Some of these changes can be observed that hair characteristics become more curly or straighter than before .
Chemotherapy affects the body’s ability to fight infections , so antibiotics may be necessary to reduce the risk of this. Regular blood tests allow measurement of patients’ vulnerability to infection.
Chemotherapy can reduce the number of red blood cells , which carry oxygen throughout the body. Therefore , it is possible to install anemia which sometimes require blood transfusions to stabilize patients. A drug called erythropoietin may be useful in stimulating the production of red blood cells during chemotherapy .
In some cases , chemotherapy can cause pain and inflammation in the soft tissue lining the digestive system. This medical condition called mucositis , which is manifested by feeding difficulties , mouth sores , bleeding or infection. The severity of these symptoms depends on the concentration of doses administered during chemotherapy .
Other possible side effects are loss of appetite, increased vulnerability to scratching and bleeding , dry skin and nails , impaired memory and concentration, sleep disorders , sexual and fertility problems , diarrhea and depression .