Chemotherapy is a tough process. It’s not only difficult for the cancer patient, it’s also difficult for their loved ones and family as well. In this article we take a look at what to expect after chemotherapy for lung cancer.
What to Expect After Chemotherapy for Lung Cancer
First, you’re gonna feel side-effects from the chemotherapy drugs and the chemo itself. These chemo drugs are used to kill off the cancer cells. However, it can kill normal cells too. Once this happens, you will feel a lot of side effects. Check out the side effects to look out for below:
This is the most common side effect of chemotherapy. The treatment can take a toll on a person’s body. You can often feel extremely tired or fatigued after every session.
This is usually one of the side effects of chemotherapy. A lot of cancer patients lose their hair while they’re on treatment. The good news is that this is only temporary, and the hair grows back before chemotherapy ends. Many cancer patients will buy very realistic looking wigs so they have hair while waiting for their natural hair to grow back.
Upset Stomach, Nausea, Weight Loss
Patients on chemotherapy often experience side effects such as queasiness, vomiting and nausea. These side effects can cause appetite loss that can lead to weight loss. Of course, doctors will also recommend anti-nausea medication to combat side effects.
Another serious side effect of chemotherapy drugs is kidney damage. It can happen if the patient doesn’t get enough liquid during treatment.
This is another side effect of chemotherapy. Patients may feel mouth sores form on the inside lining of their mouth. Sometimes, even on the lips. This is a very painful side effect that can affect the patient when they’re talking, swallowing, and eating.
Loss of hearing is a side effect of chemotherapy too. However, it is not as common. It can happen occasionally to some patients.
Another infamous side effect of chemotherapy is neutropenia. The treatment is known to be hard on the bone marrow, and can cause low platelet counts. It can also cause white blood cells to deplete. Once the platelet counts get too low, there could be a higher chance of getting infection.
Cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy may feel numbness or weakness in their fingers and toes. It’s the effect of some of the platinum drugs. These drugs have the tendency to weaken or damage nerve cells. While the cells heal, it can take some time for it to do so.
More side effects can include:
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Changes in tastes and smell
- Changes in fingernail health
- Skin changes
- Fertility problems
How To Combat the Side Effects of Chemo
Doctors will usually prescribe medicines, diet, and exercise regimens to combat and manage these side effects. You can also do your part in combating these side effects by doing the following:
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Trying complementary supplements – make sure to review this with your doctors first, before trying any supplements
- Maintaining good oral hygiene – to combat mouth sores and prevent oral infections
- Take iron supplements – again, it’s important to discuss this with your doctors first. Iron supplements can help to offset anemia and fatigue
- Give your body a break – during chemotherapy, your body goes through a lot of changes. It’s imperative that you give your body a break and let it rest.
- Brain exercises – there are a lot of great apps you can use to exercise your brain. This helps prevent your mind from getting forgetful, or feeling hazy. Keep your brain engaged by doing puzzles or stimulating it with other activities.
This article is part of our series on Lung Cancer Treatments, Signs, Causes and Prevention.
Please check out the next topic in this series: Does asbestos cause lung cancer?