Cancer is a problematic illness with various symptoms but these symptoms are quite different from the common 20 cancer side effects, which are a result of the disease or most often the treatment.

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20 Side Effects of Cancer

20 Side Effects of Cancer

Being popular for its side effects, knowing about cancer and its treatment is utmost necessary. Here are some of the common cancer side effects.

#1. Anemia

Anemia is one of the common 20 cancer side effects resulting from treatment and chemotherapy in particular. Anemia is characterized by an abnormally low level of red blood cells and results in extreme tiredness and fatigue. Anemia is caused by exposure to radiation or due to chemotherapy drugs and is often treated along with cancer.

#2. Cognitive Problems

Impairment of cognitive functions is defined by the lack of reasoning, decline in memory power, disorientation and a decline in comprehensive abilities. Cognitive problems are yet another common cancer side effect. Unfortunately; up to 75% of people suffering from cancer experience cognitive problems during the course of treatment and about 35% continue to combat cognitive impairment for up to 6 months after successful completion of treatment.

#3. Gastrointestinal Obstruction

Gastrointestinal obstruction is characterized by the blockage of the gastrointestinal tract. This is often detrimental for normal functioning but one of the common 20 cancer side effects experienced by people. In this, foods and fluids do not move through the GI tract as they normally would. Gastrointestinal obstruction is common in those suffering from colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer and pancreatic cancer.

#4. Constipation

Constipation is one of the common yet largely manageable cancer side effects. Constipation may cause bloating and slight discomfort but can be managed alongside treatment for cancer.

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#5. Dental and Oral Health Issues

A pronounced change in dental and oral health are one of the 20 cancer side effects. This side effect is most often proactively treated to provide the patient relief from the discomfort of being unable to swallow foods and talk due to pain or dry mouth.

#6. Fatigue

Fatigue that ranges from mild to debilitating is one of the most pronounced 20 cancer side effects. While fatigue in most cases disappears once treatment is successfully completed; many continue to experience fatigue long after completion of treatment.

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#7. Ascites

Ascites, an unfortunate of the 20 cancer side effects, is characterized by the collection of fluid around the organs surrounding the abdomen. People suffering from cancer of the breast, colon, ovaries, pancreas and uterine cancer are more likely to experience ascites.

#8. Palmar-Plantar Eythrodysesthesia

Palmar-plantar eythrodysesthesia; which is characterized by redness, swelling and pain on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet is a noted as one of the 20 cancer side effects in certain types of cancer treatment. The symptoms of palmar-plantar eythrodysesthesia in cancer patients are generally treated with palliative care alongside treatment for cancer itself.

#9. Hearing Loss

Certain cancers can result in cancer side effects like hearing loss in patients. This hearing loss generally ranges from mild to severe and is often accompanied by tinnitus which is a ringing sound in the ears. Most often; this side effect goes away with completion of treatment but for some, it may remain for long.

#10. Hormonal Changes due to Prostate Cancer Treatment

A decrease in testosterone and various other male hormones collectively known as androgens is common in men receiving treatment in the form of hormone therapy for prostate cancer. This too is one of the common 20 cancer side effects.

#11. Weakened Immune System and Infection

One of the other commonest 20 cancer side effects also includes increased susceptibility to infections due to a weakened immune system that is inability to fight of various infections. Palliative care often treats infections alongside primary cancer treatment and therapy.

#12. Menopausal Symptoms

Specific cancer treatments can bring on early onset of menopausal symptoms and menopause. Removal of ovaries, chemotherapy, anti-estrogen treatments and radiation therapy to the pelvic regions can bring about menopause and menopausal symptoms in women which too are some of the 20 cancer side effects.

#13. Mucositis

Mucositis or mouth sores are common 20 cancer side effects and are often caused by cancer treatments. Palliative care is often required to deal with this common side effect of cancer.

#14. Nervous System Impairment

Impairment of nervous system are one of the known cancer side effects that may crop up during the course of treatment or soon after. Palliative care is of paramount importance to help cancer patients experiencing nervous system impairment.

#15. Sleeping Problems

Hypersomnia, nightmares, somnolence syndrome and insomnia are some of the documented 20 cancer side effects that often affect the quality of sleep and rest for cancer patients.

#16. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis or bone loss is also a common cancer side effect in patients suffering with breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and multiple myeloma. Certain kinds of chemotherapy, increased risk in women and hormone therapy are contributing factors.

#17. Dermatological Conditions

Dermatological or skin conditions are quite widespread in people suffering from cancer. Chemotherapy and cancer drugs can aggravate these conditions however these cancer side effects mostly disappear with successful completion of treatment.

#18. Weight Gain

Chemotherapy can cause weight gain in cancer patients due to retention of fluids and decreased physical activity with fatigue. Chemotherapy is also known to trigger cravings for different foods in different individuals.

#19. Weight Loss

Weight loss is also one of the troublesome 20 cancer side effects. Chemotherapy and cancer drugs can have the opposite effect and decrease the appetite of many individuals.

#20. Hair Loss

Hair loss caused by exposure to radiation and chemotherapy is common in cancer patients. This is one of the most noticeable and well-known 20 cancer side effects.

In conclusion; it is important to note that these 20 cancer side effects are mostly the commonest ones but not the only ones. Various other side effects of cancer and cancer treatments also include thrombocytopenia, urinary incontinence, taste changes, dyspnea, neutropenia, pain and delirium among others.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 23, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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