Chemotherapy is the use of cytotoxic or anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. The most common ways used to give chemotherapy for liver cancer include the intravenous method where a cannula is placed into the vein using a needle or the chemotherapy drugs can be taken orally by the patient. Chemotherapy may be given after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Chemotherapy drugs attack cells that rapidly divide and this is one of the reasons why it works against cancer cells. Chemotherapy can attack normal cells as well like bone marrow, lining of the mouth, hair follicles, intestines and because chemotherapy attacks normal cells, side effects are caused.
The side effects of chemotherapy depends on factors like the dosage and the type of drug that is administered. The most common side effects of chemotherapy are:
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
- Loss of appetite
- Being prone to infections due to low white blood cells
- Fatigue due to low red blood cell count
- Bleeding or bruising as a result of low platelet count.
The side effects that come with chemotherapy usually don’t last very long and go away once the treatment is over. There are often ways to lessen side effects and it is important to speak to a doctor about the different options to lessen the side effects of chemotherapy. It is also important to note that some chemotherapy drugs might have their own side effects and a person should report to a doctor or nurse if they experience certain side effects while receiving chemotherapy.