Chemotherapy (chemo) affects different people in different ways. You may have chemo side effects, including serious ones. Chemo side effects can include:
- A lowered number of certain cells in your blood, such as red blood cells (which carry oxygen), white blood cells (which help fight infection), and platelets (which help stop bleeding)
- Hair loss, also called alopecia
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion and memory problems
- Mouth sores
- Constipation or diarrhea
Keep Your Doctor Informed
The best thing you can do is talk with your doctor and care team about chemo side effects and how to manage them. During chemo, keep a journal about chemo side effects. Write down details:
- What is the symptom?
- How and when did it begin?
- Did anything make it feel better or worse?
- What did you do to cope with it?
- When did it go away?
Remember to bring it up at your next treatment or doctor's visit. Ask if your doctor has any ideas about how to better manage the chemo side effects you are having. On this website, you'll find tips about how to cope with chemo side effects from experts and people who have been through chemo. But remember that your doctor and care team are your best source of information and support during your chemo journey.
Want tips about what you can do to manage these and other chemo side effects? Continue the journey.
Getting Started Now
It's never too early to take steps to prepare for chemo side effects. Here are some ideas to help you prepare:
- Arrange help from friends and family members
- Keep a treatment calendar
- Plan meals in advance
- Buy food and drinks you might be able to eat when nauseated
- Schedule important events around your treatment plan
- Create a support network list for errands, chores, and rides to the doctor
- Go wig, hat, or handkerchief shopping with a friend
- Talk to your doctor about chemo side effects and what can be done to help
The Chemotherapy and Infection Discussion Guide can help you understand your
risk of infection
Infection can be a serious side effect of strong chemo. Find out the factors that affect your risk of infection. Simply answer a few questions, and then print your results to share with your doctor.
Use the Chemotherapy and Infection Discussion Guide to find out more.