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21. Side Effects

Chemo is the anti-cancer drug that produces the most adverse side effects for patients -- including nausea, severe fatigue, neuropathy, and, of course, hair loss in some cases.

  • Adverse Side Effect

  • 1) Nausea

  • 2) Anemia

  • 3) Pain

  • 4) Neutropenia

  • 5) Neuropathy

  • 6) Mucositis

  • 7) Hair Loss

  • 8) "Chemo Brain"

  • Can Another Drug
    Counteract It?
  • Yes. For example, Aloxi
    and Anzemet.

  • Yes. For example,

  • Yes. For example,
    several opiod-based
    drugs like Roxanol.
  • Yes. For example,
    Neupogen and Neulasta.
  • Yes. For example,
  • Yes. For example,
  • No.

  • No.

  • Comments

  • In recent years there has been great progress in developing
    drugs to counteract nausea, a very common side effect from
  • Occurs in a majority of cancer patients; results from low red
    blood cell count with fatigue and shortness of breath as the
    main symptoms.
  • About 90% of cancer patients receiving treatment experience
    some form of pain and for most of us it can be chronic, and
    sometimes quite severe.
  • Occurs from shortage of key type of white blood cells and
    increases the patientís risk of infection.
  • A painful injury to sensory nerves (such as those needed for
    touch); may be gradually resolved as nerves heal.
  • This is a painful inflammation in the nose and throat, seen in
    about 40% of patientís taking standard dose chemo.
  • But there is no hair loss resulting from some cell-targeted
    therapies (for example Gleevac) because they do not impact
    hair follicles.
  • Cognitive abilities, which can decline immediately after Chemo
    treatment, gradually improve (in most cases over a period of a
    few months).