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Breast Cancer Chemotherapy: What are the side effect?

Chemotherapy is a type of treatment for treating cancer, using drugs, which can kill cancer cells, in the patient's body. Chemotherapy is available in various forms, from pills or fluids that can be swallowed directly, fluids that are infused directly into organs, to injections.

In choosing breast cancer treatment, some people choose to undergo chemotherapy. Even so, there are many side effects of chemotherapy that patients should anticipate, while fighting the gnawing cancer cells.

Although it has many side effects, the process of chemotherapy to kill breast cancer cells is very trusted because this procedure is considered to be able to prolong the life of the patient, and potentially defeat cancer in the body. Here are a few common side effects that patients may experience during breast cancer chemotherapy.


Reasons for Choosing Chemotherapy

Before you know more about the side effects of chemotherapy, there are a few factors that require chemotherapy in cancer patients.

Chemotherapy is used as a single or primary treatment to kill cancer cells in cancer patients. If the cancer patient has undergone other cancer treatments, such as surgery, then chemotherapy can be done to kill hidden cancer cells, which still settle in the patient's body which is called adjuvant therapy.

Chemotherapy can also be done to shrink tumors in cancer patients. This is done, so that the patient's body with cancer is ready to undergo other cancer treatments, such as radiation or surgery. Doctors call it neoadjuvant therapy.

Chemotherapy also has a role to relieve the signs and symptoms of cancer, by turning off some cancer cells in the body. Doctors call this procedure as palliative chemotherapy.

Other diseases that affect the bone marrow, sometimes also require chemotherapy. In addition, immune system diseases usually require low-dose chemotherapy drugs to control an overactive immune system, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

 

The Sides Effects of Breast Cancer Chemotherapy

1. Hair loss

Chemotherapy can damage hair follicles, make it weak, fragile, and eventually fall out. Hair that will grow, after being exposed to side effects of chemotherapy will look thin. The color can also be different. This will continue to happen, as long as the effects of chemotherapy are undertaken. After the breast cancer chemotherapy is complete, hair growth will return to normal.

2. Weakening the immune system

By taking chemotherapy, this can weaken a patient's immune system because chemotherapy will kill healthy immune cells. As a result, patients will be more susceptible to infection.

In addition, because the patient's immune system will be difficult to fight germs and bacteria, usually the infection will last longer, in the patient's body.

3. Nerve disorders

Neuropathy is nerve pain caused by damaged nerves. Chemotherapy patients will usually experience these side effects. Neuropathy causes the hands and feet to feel pins and needles, numbness, and unusual electric shocks. Some people also feel weakness and ringing in the ears.

4. Respiratory disorders

The side effects of chemotherapy can also damage a patient's lungs because they reduce the capacity of the lungs. Not surprisingly, chemotherapy patients often have difficulty breathing. The doctor will ask the patient to stay calm, take a deep breath, and sit with a pillow supporting the upper body, to reduce breathing difficulties.

5. Interfere with the digestive system

Side effects of chemotherapy can trigger digestive problems. Therefore, chemotherapy can damage cells that help digestion of patients. Nausea caused by chemotherapy also forces the patient to change his diet. This sudden change in diet can cause digestive problems.

6. Skin rashes

As a result of changes in the immune system, the side effects of chemotherapy eventually trigger rashes and other changes to the skin. A severe rash can cause painful itching, and the risk of infection is also great, if the chemotherapy patient scratches the itchy area, until it bleeds.

7. Nausea and vomiting

After each chemotherapy session, nausea and vomiting can occur. In fact, the side effects of this chemotherapy can occur at various times. Usually, the doctor will give anti-nausea medication, shortly after the patient completes his chemotherapy session.

8. Disrupting the reproductive system

Chemotherapy drugs are known to have an impact on male and female hormones. In women, hormonal changes can cause irregular periods, or even the onset of menopause suddenly. A dry vagina can also occur, causing sexual intercourse to be uncomfortable.

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