Side Effects of Chemotherapy
So let’s talk about the chemotherapy that’s generally given for breast cancer. So chemotherapy, again, is not targeted treatment, but it’s what’s called cytotoxic treatment, which means that it’s going to be affecting the cells in the body that grow quickly, and hence, it affects cancer. So for the chemotherapy that we use for breast cancer, one of the major side effects for that treatment is complete hair loss. This is pretty common and generally will affect all women that are on these regimens. However, it’s good to know that after your treatment has stopped, you should have complete hair recovery. Other common side effects for majority of the chemotherapies we use for breast cancer can be decrease in your blood cell counts, which could increase risk of infection, cause your red cells to drop, something called anemia, or also cause your platelets to drop. Generally, these are mild, and in addition, sometimes we give medications that can help increase your white blood cells. So this is common for the blood counts to drop and not necessarily something that should be a concern because your medical oncologist will be monitoring your labs closely.