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Fifteen Most Common Chemotherapy Side Effects and Ways to Manage Them - Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated on Jul 30, 2016
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is chemotherapy painful?

Pain caused by chemotherapy includes headaches, muscle pain, and stomach pain. Some pains such as burning or shooting pain in the fingers or toes are caused by the nerve damage resulting from chemotherapy. Doctors can help manage pain with painkillers or treating the source of the pain.

2. What is the use of chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy helps:
  • Reduce the number of cancer cells in your body
  • Reduce the spread of cancer in the body
  • Reduce the symptoms
  • Reduce the tumor size
  • Prepare for other cancer treatments like radiotherapy
  • Relieve pain in an advanced stage of cancer
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3. Can chemotherapy cause nose bleeds?

Nose bleeds are a possible side effect of chemotherapy due to reduced blood platelet count. They need to be managed by applying ice packs and with prescribed medications.

4. What are the general effects of cancer?

The most important side effect of cancer and cancer treatment is pain. Apart from this, other effects of cancer vary according to the type and stage of cancer. The effects of cancer also depend upon the site of the cancer and where it has spread. Some of the common effects of cancer include:
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss
  • Anemia
  • Gastrointestinal problems

5. What is the difference between long-term and short-term chemotherapy side effects?

Long-term side effects are the reactions of chemotherapy that last for a long time or permanently. Long-term side effects are rare. Short-term side effects last for the period of chemotherapy regime. They are usually temporary and disappear gradually after the treatment is over.

6. What is the cost of chemotherapy in India?

The cost of chemotherapy in India ranges from Rs. 1 Lakh to about Rs. 8 Lakhs. This cost can be exclusive of the diagnostic procedures, radiation therapy and other treatment procedures. There are many organizations which offer free or low cost treatment and palliative care for cancer patients.

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