A new study shows patients who undergo chemotherapy or radiation expect a high number of side effects. Researchers found side effects from chemotherapy or radiation can diminish the quality of life for patients. If a patient expects a certain side effect, such as nausea, he or she is more likely to develop that symptom. The study also shows age, gender, educational background, and the type of cancer influence how many side effects a patient expects.
Researchers studied the expectation of side effects for nearly 950 cancer patients prior to treatment. Patients anticipated an average of nine symptoms including fatigue, nausea, hair loss, skin problems, weight loss, pain, and sleep problems. Patients with hematologic cancers, such as leukemia, and those with lung cancer expected the greatest number of side effects while those with prostate cancer expected the least.
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