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Coping with Treatment SIde Effects

Posted 7/21/2014

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  As we all know all too well, cancer treatment inevitably brings side effects. Those side effects are variable treatment to treatment, drug to drug, and are also somewhat different for each person. A drug that causes one person extreme fatigue may not make much of a dent in another's energy level. The lists of possible side effects are always daunting, and, although it is helpful to know what is possible, it is also distressing. Some women prefer not to know more than what they clearly are needing to deal with.

  For most of us, the biggies are hair loss, nausea and vomiting, and fatigue. Certainly there are other less common possibilities, but the "Big Three" are frequent companions of cancer care. I know one woman who has been on a clinical trial for advanced lung cancer; the trial drug impacted her vision. She described it as being in a dim room, as though someone had turned down the lights at night. This made a very big negative impact on her daily life as she had to stop driving and almost stopped going out after dark. Fortunately, when she stopped the trial, her vision returned to normal.

  This is an introduction to this fact sheet from Cancer Care about coping with side effects. It is useful, although brief, but it will also serve the important funtion of introducing you to this group and their website. Even if you are not interested in this particular topic, it is well worth looking at their information. Here is the start and a link:

Coping with Challenging Side Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment

There are many treatment options for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s important to tell your health care team about any side effects you experience so that they can be managed. With your health care team’s guidance, it is possible to maximize your quality of life while being treated for breast cancer.

Here are some common side effects of treatment for breast cancer, along with ways to cope with them:
Nausea and vomiting These symptoms may be caused by chemotherapy. Your health care team can prescribe medications to help manage these side effects. Your team may also recommend working with a dietitian, who can provide tips on eating and how to stay hydrated during chemotherapy.


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