Common Cancer Treatment Questions
- How Often Will I Receive Chemotherapy Treatment and How Long Will it Last?
Treatments may be daily, weekly, or monthly depending on the type of cancer, the goals of the treatment, the drugs being used, and how the body responds to them. Treatment is usually given over several weeks to months in on-and-off cycles. These rest periods will allow the body to build healthy new cells and regain its strength.
- How Will I Know If My Chemotherapy Is Working?
The Medical Oncologist will measure the success of treatments by doing certain tests. These test may include physical exams, blood tests, bone marrow biopsies, scans, and x-rays. Side effects are not an indication as to how well the treatment is working.
Please feel free to Contact Us with questions about “chemo,” and for any additional information on the programs and services.
- What are the common side effects?
The most common side effects of chemo include:
- Nausea, vomiting, Hair loss, Fatigue (tiredness)
- Increased chance of bruising and bleeding
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Chemo may affect parts of the body in the following ways:
- Intestinal and stomach problems
- Appetite and weight changes
- Sore mouth, gums and throat
- Nerve and muscle problems
- Dry and/or discolored skin
- Kidney and bladder irritation
- Sexual and fertility issues
- What you should remember about side effects:
- Every person doesn’t get every side effect, and some people get few, if any.
- The severity of side effects varies greatly from person to person. Our staff will explain which side effects are most likely.
- The Medical Oncologist may prescribe medicines to prevent some side effects before they happen.
Many people have no long-term problems with chemo. Although side effects can be unpleasant, they must be measured against the need to treat the cancer.
- Will I be Radioactive?
No. Radiation is a powerful process but you will not be permanently radioactive. External radiation therapy affects cells for a moment. Internal radiation therapy may cause your body to give off small dosages of radiation for a short period of time
- What are the most common side effects of radiation therapy?
Fatigue (feeling tired), skin changes, loss of appetite.
- Is there any way I can better deal with these side effects?
Yes. Be sure you rest whenever you feel tired. Depending on what your nurse, doctor, or dietitian have assigned, eat the foods recommended for you. Also take care of the skin in and around the treatment area. Avoid rubbing, scrubbing, and using any soaps, lotions, deodorants, perfumes, or other substances without doctor’s approval.
- Am I going to lose my hair?
Radiation can cause hair loss, but only in the area being treated. In most cases hair grows back after treatments are complete. When the hair does grow back it may be thinner or of a different texture.
- Is it still possible to have children after radiation therapy?
Women should not try to become pregnant during radiation therapy to avoid exposing the fetus. After radiation therapy, some women will experience symptoms of menopause. Men may want to bank their sperm before treatment because radiation therapy can reduce the number of sperm and their ability to function. Discuss fertility with your oncologist or primary care provider for more information on having children after radiation therapy.
- Why Choose Holzer for your Radiation Therapy?
It is not unusual for patients requiring radiation therapy to travel for hours over long distances in order to receive the treatment they need. Since March 2005, the Holzer Center for Cancer Care has made it easier and more convenient to receive both external and internal radiation therapy in Gallia County and the Southeastern Ohio Valley.
More important than location is the quality of care. Our facilities feature the most state-of-the-art equipment and modern techniques. Perhaps more important still are the qualifications of our staff and their commitment to compassionate, comprehensive care. Our staff works with you to inform and educate you regarding the radiation therapy that is right for you.
- When can I try to have children again?
Your diagnosis of cancer is a difficult concept to accept, and chemotherapy is serious medicine. Our mission is to make your treatment as comfortable and as effective as possible. Your treatment should present no obstacle to helping you defeat cancer and return to health. That is why we do everything possible to help you understand what your body is going through, how your chemotherapy will proceed, and how we can all work together to make treatments as easy as possible for you.