At our Issels® immuno-oncology center, the focus is on non-toxic therapies that work with your body’s own immune system to target cancer cells. Chemotherapy is one of the more widely used of traditional cancer treatments, but it can result in one or more side effects, with some manifesting themselves further down the road.
How does chemotherapy cause side effects?
Chemotherapy, or chemo, uses drugs to attack tumors by disrupting the cell cycle, halting the growth of rapidly dividing cancer cells. Problems arise when the drug also interferes with healthy cells in tissues, such as those in the reproductive, nervous and digestive systems.
Long-term and late side effects
While long-term side effects begin during the course of chemo, late side effects don’t become apparent until well after treatment has concluded. Since the damaged tissue cells continue to grow, the influence of the drugs may take some time to show up.
Some of the more common side effects of chemo include:
Heart or kidney problems
Peripheral neuropathy, which is loss of sensation in hands and feet
Cognitive difficulties and learning disabilities
Side effects differ from patient to patient based on the specific chemo medications used and the patient’s unique physiology. Most side effects, including long-term, turn out to be temporary.
Treatment protocols at our immuno-oncology center are personalized based on thorough testing to determine your specific needs and are chemotherapy-free. This allows us to address the underlying causes of cancer to reduce the possibility of recurrence. Visit our website to learn more about cancer vaccines, immune system enhancements and other non-toxic weapons in our cancer-fighting arsenal.
One of the goals of non-toxic cancer treatments at the Issels immuno-oncology center is a reduction of debilitating side effects typically caused by traditional treatments. Unfortunately, side effects are a frequent result of therapy when using chemotherapy and radiation.
Successful management of side effects has benefits for both your physical and mental well-being. Here are three of the more common side effects of traditional cancer treatment along with tips to reduce them.
Fatigue from radiation and chemotherapy
Not only is cancer treatment energy-sapping on its own, it can sometimes result in anemia, which also causes fatigue. This exhaustion often interferes with normal activities so many patients find it helpful to cut back on work and other obligations. A healthy diet and moderate exercise can also help, but it’s important to get rest when you need it.
Hair loss from chemotherapy
Hair loss is a well-known side effect of chemotherapy, which destroys rapidly dividing cells like hair roots. The loss is usually temporary, and hair grows back from three to 10 months following the last treatment, but can be permanent in some patients. A variety of options are available based on your personal preference. They include cutting your hair short or covering your head with hats, scarves and wigs.
Nausea from chemotherapy
Nausea and vomiting that accompanies chemotherapy is usually addressed with medication. Some patients avoid types of food that tend to be irritating, such as greasy or spicy products. Based on a 2004 study, researchers are exploring the possibility that expectations of nausea can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.