Chemotherapy targets rapidly dividing cancer cells and aims to kill them. Despite this, some healthy cells in the body also divide rapidly, like those in the hair follicles, the mouth, stomach and bone marrow. When chemotherapy for brain tumor starts damages these healthy cells,
The following side effects may follow:
- Hair loss: Chemotherapeutic drugs leads to severe hair loss due to the way they affect the body. The severity in the damage of the hair follicles depends on the dosage of chemotherapy and the drugs prescribed to the patient. Hair loss can start to occur in the first two weeks of the first cycle itself. The hair fall often occurs in clumps. In most cases, the hair growth will resume post treatment.
- Nausea: During and after chemotherapy, patients experience dizziness because of the drugs. The disturbances caused by the drugs in the stomach can cause vomiting.
- Diarrhea: Chemotherapeutic drugs prescribed for pancreatic cancer affects the cells that line the intestines. This causes a disturbance in the stomach and leads to diarrhea.
- Increased risk of infection (from low white blood cell counts): These drugs can kill the healthy white blood cells which makes the person prone to infections as the immunity of the body decreases.
- Fatigue (from low red blood cell counts): Chemotherapeutic drugs can cause a lot of weakness and feeling of tiredness during and after treatment.
- Easy bruising and bleeding (from low blood platelet counts): Less number of platelets can cause difficulty in blood clotting. It also leads to easy bleeding and bruising.
Before treatment begins, the healthcare team will be able to answer questions about what one can expect from treatment, including how chemotherapy side effects are managed.