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Chemotherapy Side Effects

Anemia and Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can damage your body’s ability to make red blood cells, so body tissues do not get enough oxygen, a condition called anemia. People who have anemia may feel very weak or tired, dizzy, faint, or short of breath, or may feel that their hearts are beating very fast.

Infection and Chemotherapy

To reduce your risk for infection, avoid people who are sick with contagious illnesses, including colds, the flu, measles, or chickenpox.

Neutropenia: A Vulnerable Time for Infections

Neutropenia is a condition in which the body has a very low number of white blood cells. Because white blood cells attack harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi, neutropenia increases the risk for infections.

Hair Loss and Chemotherapy

People often choose to wear wigs, scarves, or hats while or after losing their hair. If this is what you would like to do, pick them out ahead of time and start wearing them before your hair is completely gone.

Skin/Nails and Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can affect both the skin and nails. It may cause an increased sensitivity to the sun as well as redness, rashes, itching, peeling, dryness, or acne. Nails may become darkened, yellow, brittle, or cracked, and may also develop vertical lines or ridges.

Appetite / Taste Changes and Chemotherapy

Treatment for cancer, as well as the cancer itself, can affect your sense of taste or smell. You may find that many foods seem to have less taste. Other foods, especially meat or other high-protein foods, may taste bitter or metallic.

Managing Mucositis in Children

Mucositis can be a very troublesome and painful side effect of chemotherapy. Common symptoms include diarrhea and abdominal cramping or tenderness.

Other Treatment Side Effects

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