Many people find that they lose interest in sex during chemotherapy. Below is a list of common side effects of traditional chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can cause unpleasant side effects, although many can be treated or prevented, and most will pass once your treatment stops. This is often temporary, but it can be permanent in some cases. Chemotherapy can reduce your body's ability to fight infection. The charity Macmillan Cancer Support has a directory of local support groups. Whether you want to learn about treatment options, get advice on coping with side effects, or have questions about health insurance, we’re here to help. This makes you more likely to get infections that could make you seriously ill. Chemotherapy. It's most common to lose hair from your head, but you can also lose it from other parts of your body, including your arms, legs and face. This is known as insomnia. Chemotherapy can also make your nails become brittle or flaky, and white lines may develop across them. If you're at risk of infertility, they will discuss your options with you. Available Every Minute of Every Day. Still, many people have no long-term problems from chemo. Fatigue. Things such as using lists, post-it notes, calendars and your mobile phone for reminders can help. Become a volunteer, make a tax-deductible donation, or participate in a fundraising event to help us save lives. They understand how distressing it can be and can support you and discuss your options with you. Hair loss can be upsetting. You may need treatment to increase your number of red blood cells. Most people think of vitamins as a safe way to improve health, so it’s not surprising that many people with cancer take high doses of one or more vitamins. The American Cancer Society couldn’t do what we do without the support of our partners. Joining a cancer support group may also help. But they can for some types of drugs called targeted therapies. They can offer support and discuss possible treatment strategies. They want to help their body’s natural defenses fight the cancer and speed up their recovery from chemo. Tell your care team if your medicine does not help, or it causes too many side effects. Doctors try to give chemo at levels high enough to treat cancer, while keeping side effects at a minimum. Some chemotherapy medicines can also reduce fertility in men and women. Anderson MK, Matey L. Overview of cancer and cancer treatment. Physician's Cancer Chemotherapy Drug Manual, 2019. We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers and donors. Chemotherapy can cause unpleasant side effects, although many can be treated or prevented, and most will pass once your treatment stops. It's a good idea to take precautions to protect yourself against infection by: A course of antibiotics may sometimes be prescribed to reduce your risk of getting an infection. A cold cap looks like a bicycle helmet and is designed to cool your scalp during a treatment session. Including a high amount of iron in your diet can help reduce your risk of anaemia, as iron helps the body make red blood cells. There are also other drugs that are used to treat cancer in different ways, including targeted therapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy. But sometimes the hair that grows back is a slightly different colour or it may be curlier or straighter than it used to be. If you're working, you may want to ask your employer for time off or arrange to work part-time until your treatment has finished. American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. These interactions may make side effects worse and affect how well chemo drugs work. Cancer cells tend to grow fast, and chemo drugs kill fast-growing cells. It may be possible to reduce the chances of hair loss by wearing a cold cap while you're having chemotherapy. Next review due: 29 January 2023, avoid doing tasks or activities that you do not feel up to, ask your friends and family for help with everyday tasks, suppositories – capsules you put into your bottom, washing your hands regularly with soap and water – particularly after going to the toilet, before preparing food and eating, and after touching pets or other animals (as they can have infections that can be dangerous), trying to avoid close contact with people who have an infection – such as, tiredness and lack of energy – this tends to be more severe than the general fatigue associated with chemotherapy, dark-green leafy vegetables, such as watercress and curly kale, the inside of your mouth feeling sore, as if you've burned it by eating very hot food, discomfort when eating, drinking and/or talking, eat smaller meals more often instead of 3 larger meals each day, eat light meals on the day of your treatment, sip drinks slowly through a straw, rather than drinking them straight from a glass, slightly discoloured (this may be patchy), set regular times for going to bed and waking up, relax before bedtime – try taking a warm bath or listening to calming music, use thick curtains or blinds, an eye mask and earplugs to stop you being woken up by light and noise, avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, heavy meals and exercise for a few hours before going to bed, avoid watching TV or using a phone, tablet or computer shortly before going to bed, write a list of your worries, and any ideas about how to solve them, before going to bed, to help you forget about them until the morning, a temperature of above 37.5C or below 36C, your skin feels warm to touch, or you feel hot and shivery, flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and pain, pain, swelling, redness, heat and /or a discharge of liquid at the site of a wound (such as a surgical scar) or where an intravenous or catheter line has been put into one of your veins (usually your upper arm). 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