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Cancer – Chemotherapy Side Effects

February 2, 2021


“So we’ve got side effects for chemotherapy. You’re going to see a whole list of things. And I know that I’ve seen patients myself that say, yeah, I think I want to start it, but I’m afraid about having all these things. Side effects just mean that there’s a percent chance it could happen. Some is as low as 1 to 5% and some are as high as 55%. So it’s important to ask what are the most common and most likely side effects to experience? Of course you want to be aware of everything. A couple of things that all chemotherapies share are one, you can always have a reaction just like you can to any drug, but it can be at the moment where you kind of get short of breath, you get some skin flushing and depending on what the drug is, the treatment may be different and sometimes even expected.

The second thing is infection. They, a lot of the chemotherapies decrease your white cell count or your ANC, which predisposes you to infections about usually seven days out. That’s when the counts are lowest to make you more susceptible for infections. These drugs can also cause significant fatigue, decreased appetite. And a lot of them do usually cause some kind of neuropathy or which has numbness or tingling in your hands and feet, or taste changes, especially the platinums and other drugs, my patients will say, things just don’t seem like they have a taste to me. So each chemotherapy drug is unique and you definitely want to learn about that drug in particular, but realize that these are things that most chemotherapies are all going to share.”

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