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Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy, like most drug therapies, has some side effects. Side effects may depend on the type of chemotherapy used and how much is given. However, some people may experience few or no side effects. If you do experience side effects, there are medications and other treatments to help relieve them.

Some of the common side effects associated with chemotherapy include: anemia, appetite changes, bleeding from low platelets, constipation, depression, diarrhea, hair loss, hormone changes, infection from low white blood cell count or weakened immune system, nausea and vomiting, pain, skin and nail changes, and tiredness. Side effects such as low white blood cell count, low platelets, and anemia may result in treatment delays.

Chemotherapy drugs are usually divided into groups based on how they work, their chemical structure, and their relationship with other drugs. Oncologists use this information to prescribe drugs that are likely to work well together, if more than one drug is used.

For more information on the various types of chemotherapy drugs, please visit www.cancer.org or www.cancer.gov