The side effects of chemotherapy depend on the type of drugs you take. Cancer-killing drugs affect any cells that grow quickly. That includes cancer cells as well as those in your blood and digestive system.
During treatment, your doctor will take small samples of your blood for testing. If your number of white blood cells is low during chemotherapy, you are at risk for infection. You should tell your doctor or nurse right away about any fever you have during chemotherapy because it is a sign of infection. A fever is defined as a body temperature higher than 100.5 degrees.
If your platelets are low during chemotherapy, you may bruise or bleed more easily. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you experience this.
Your red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to other parts of your body. Their numbers may also drop during chemotherapy. This is called anemia. Occasionally, a platelet or blood transfusion may become necessary. These are symptoms of anemia, listed from the most to least common:
Shortness of breath
Lack of energy
These are other side effects from chemotherapy:
Most of these side effects go away once treatment is complete.
You should tell your doctor or nurse about any side effects you have. Many medicines can help you deal with these side effects and perhaps prevent them from occurring. Most of these side effects go away once treatment ends.