Side Effects of Cancer Treatment
Most cancer treatments, whether chemotherapy drugs or radiation therapy, work by killing the cancer cells that are in your body. Unfortunately, normal cells near the cancer site and other parts of your body are sometimes also affected by treatment. When this happens, it’s called a side effect of your treatment.
Fortunately, research in both cancer treatment and side effect management has brought about many solutions to patients experiencing side effects. There are two important points for you to remember about side effects:
- You need to let the doctor know right away if you are having symptoms that may be related to your treatment.
- Many side effects can be effectively minimized or eliminated so that you can remain comfortable throughout your therapy and do not miss any treatments.
Our medical professionals have put together information on and recommendations for dealing with a wide range of side effects, including:
- Changes in fertility and/or sexuality
- Dry mouth
- Dry or "burned" skin
- Hair loss
- Head and neck cancer treatment: Helpful details about wearing accessories and using personal care products
- Mouth sores and sore throat
- Stiff mouth (trismus)
- Urination problems
Taking over-the-counter (OTC) medication during cancer treatment
Can you take OTC medication as part of your cancer treatment or to help manage side effects?
Yes, no and maybe. Your treatment may cause side effects that can easily be treated with OTC products, and you may also get other illnesses, aches and pains during your treatment that have nothing to do with your cancer. It is always best to speak to your physician about taking prescription and non-prescription medications.