Chemotherapy Side Effects

Chemotherapy is one of the therapies frequently used in cancer treatment. This is a powerful medical approach consists of using therapeutic chemicals called anti-cancer drugs which are divided in different classes: Alkylating agents, Antimetabolites, Anthracyclines, Plant alkaloids and others. Those chemicals work by damaging the DNA of cancerous cells, thus making them unable to reproduce.

Cancer victims usually receive their chemotherapy in cycles. Each cycle is administered every 1 to 4 weeks following by a period of rest between every cycle to allow the body to recuperate itself.  Usually, chemotherapy is taken by session. During each session, patients receive the medications intravenously, orally in the form of pill, or by injection into the body cavity. The method used depends on the drugs taken, the condition of the patient as well as the type of cancer being treated.

The main work of chemotherapy agents is to cause damage in cancer cells in the entire body in order to stop them from spreading among healthy cells. Unfortunately, when chemo drugs travel throughout the body they also damage healthy cells in the bone marrow, digestive tract, hair follicle, mouth and reproductive system. Some anti-cancer drugs can even affect the cells in the lungs, heart, bladder, kidneys as well as the nervous system. This usually leads to development of serious side effects in most patients.

In general, most common side effects experienced cancer patients during chemotherapy include:

Fatigue and Tiredness 

Fatigue and tiredness are often triggered by cancer treatment, unfortunately. But chemo-related fatigue usually occurs suddenly and can last days, weeks or months, if no appropriate steps are not taken to stop it

Hair loss

Cancer patients would like to retain their hair and beauty during the course of the treatment. Unfortunately, most chemo agents cause their hair to fall. In fact, hair loss is the most common visible side effects of chemotherapy


Diarrhea and Constipation

While killing cancer cells, chemotherapy drugs also attack and damage the cells in themucosa (lining that recovers the intestine) of theintestine, causing inflammation, diarrhea, constipation, pain

Skin Problems

Certain chemo drugs can cause skin problems such as dry skin, skin rashes, hives, flushing (redness of the face and neck), and swelling of the eyelids, lips and tongue

Nausea and Vomiting  

Nausea and Vomiting are not out of the picture when it comes to chemotherapy side effects. In fact, they are the two of the most common malaise associated with chemo drugs


Anemia is the fact there is not enough red blood cells (RBCs) in the blood. About 70% of cancer patients experience anemia during the treatment. The reason is because

Loss of Appetite

Most individuals undergoing chemotherapy experience loss of appetite. This can be the result of the therapy or the cancer itself. In fact, most cancers tend to cause decreased appetite

Weight Loss 

Everyone wants to have a normal weight. Unfortunately, weight loss is one of chemotherapy side effects cancer patients tend to experience during the treatment. The weight loss

Sore Mouth, Gums and Throat

Sore mouth, gums and throat is commonly experienced by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy; it is a frequent chemotherapy side effect

Kidney and Bladder Problems

Kidney and bladder are two organs that play a major role in cleansing your body during cancer treatment. Therefore, Kidney and bladder problems are among chemotherapy side effects that

Low Sex Drive

Sex is a divine blessing, as they say. Unfortunately, men and women undergoing chemo can see their sexual appetite reduced during the cancer treatment. Fortunately, these steps can help you regain


Some chemo drugs can reduce the ability to have kids. In fact, Infertility is one of fearful chemotherapy side effects. Certain medications may reduce or completely stop the inability to have children in both men and women

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