Chemotherapy is a common type of cancer treatment that uses drugs or medications to treat many types of cancer. It works by targeting and eliminating rapidly dividing cancer cells in the body. Chemotherapy is often given for two main reasons. First, chemotherapy may control or eliminate tumors to relieve symptoms, such as pain. This type of chemotherapy is often called palliative chemotherapy. The other main reason to provide chemotherapy is to prevent recurrence after surgery or radiation therapy to control the original tumor. This type of chemotherapy is called adjuvant or neo-adjuvant chemotherapy.
How your chemotherapy treatment affects you depends on many factors, such as how aggressive treatment is, overall general health, and what chemotherapy drug is being taken. Several medications can be prescribed to combat many of the side effects of treatment. Keeping a pain or symptom journal is an effective way of keeping track of side effects of treatment. This type of journal helps give the doctor more insight into how you are tolerating treatment. It also helps you remember important details that you may forget during your medical appointments.
Common Chemotherapy Side Effects:
* dry skin
* sexual changes
* hair loss
* low platelet count
* taste changes