Chemotherapy is an effective treatment for cancer, but patients go through tough times during the treatment that is often quite harsh on the body. Even after completion of the treatment, its side effects persist, and patients often face difficulties to cope with the situation. This is the most challenging phase that patients go through because besides getting rid of cancer, chemotherapy leaves its marks on the body in many ways when chemotherapy treatment is finished. But it is not always that side effects would happen to all because it depends on the drugs used and the age, health, and other factors that are specific to individuals.
It’s not the same for everyone
From hair loss to loss of fertility, fatigue, pain, skin problems, and numbness of the body extremities, many things can happen that patients must be ready to face. Some people might experience nausea and vomiting, digestive distress as well as mood changes besides constipation, but the side effects can vary from person to person. While some people may experience a few side effects, others may not have any effects at all.
Delayed side effects
Most side effects commence from the time of treatment, but many start much later, and it often becomes confusing to understand that it is the result of the treatment. Side effects like infertility, peripheral neuropathy or nerve damage that manifests in the form of numbness of hands, feet, and leg as well as heart, lung and kidney problems can show up after many months or years after the treatment. Although chemotherapy is a powerful treatment and kills cancer cells, there can be chances of getting second cancer.
The diet helps to manage side effects
Diet plays a very important role in managing the side effects of chemotherapy treatment. Follow the advice of a dietician in having the right food of the right quantity that can effectively beat fatigue and keep you energized during and after the treatment. Eat plenty of calories and protein and have a good square meal in the morning when the appetite is at its peak so that the body receives enough nutrients. If solid food is difficult to take or not to your liking, for extra calories fall back on liquid food replacements like juice, milk or soup. Try out ice-pops, milkshakes, and yogurt as soft and cool or frozen foods are often more appealing and effective to counter the side effects. Take smaller portions of meals about 5 to 6 times a day as it helps in quick digestion instead of taking three large meals a day.
Other uses of chemotherapy
Although chemotherapy is the treatment of choice for cancer, doctors can use it for treating other conditions like bone marrow disease when patients prepare for bone marrow transplant. Chemotherapy is also effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, which are related to an overactive immune system.
Patients who win the battle against cancer must have the mental strength of overcoming the side effects, and even if some side effect persists, which can happen in a few cases, it is a small price to pay.