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Dr. Amelia Tower Explains The Side Effects Of Cancer Treatment And How To Manage Them

How to Cope with, and Manage the Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

Decatur, TX – April 15, 2020 –Most cancer patients undergo surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy as standard treatments. However, these treatments often come with side effects that take over their daily lives, making them uncomfortable, and in some cases, miserable. They tend to affect the wellbeing of patients physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

“Cancer treatment side effects vary depending on the type and stage of cancer, and the treatment offered,” said Dr. Tower. “Some of them can take weeks, months, or years to manage, while some are permanent. Remember that every patient is different, and their bodies will cope with treatment in their own way. Talk to your physician and find out what to expect from your treatment and how your care team will help you manage or cope with the side effects.”

Here are a few side effects of cancer treatment and how to manage them;

  • Lymphoedema – This is a swelling in the soft tissues found under the skin due to the build-up of lymph fluid. This occurs when lymph nodes are surgically removed or damaged by injury, infection, or radiation therapy. Lymphoedema can occur based on the extent of surgery, body weight, or other cancer treatment and can take months or years to develop. But it can be treated with medicine.
  • Cancer-related cognitive impairment (cancer fog) – This can be caused by chemotherapy and radiation. It makes patients experience memory difficulties and have a hard time concentrating and focusing. Although this condition improves with time, an occupational therapist can help you manage it. Plenty of sleep and gentle exercises can also help.
  • Hearing loss – Progressive hearing loss may happen as a result of platinum-based chemotherapy drugs like cisplatin and carboplatin. The drugs cause damage to hair cells in the inner ear making it less responsive to sound waves. Radiation therapy can also cause hearing loss. If this condition becomes serious, patients can get cochlear implants.
  • Hair loss – Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment. Chemotherapy drugs can destroy hair roots, but the condition is temporary, and the hair will grow back about ten months after completing treatment. Radiation therapy can also cause loss of hair, but only in the areas it has been administered. Cooling caps can help prevent hair loss. Some patients will use hats, scarfs, or wigs to cover the head until the hair grows back.

“Some side effects can develop months or years after treatment is completed, continued Dr. Tower. “They may be caused by scarring or damage to the body’s internal organs. Discuss with your doctor to know if you are likely to develop late side effects.”

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