Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer – What Side Effects can Occur?

Cancer cells are due to their high rate of sharing particularly sensitive to the effects of chemotherapy. Yet the damage used by the drugs (cytostatics) are also healthy cells. In affected mainly cells, which multiply rapidly.

Learn more about:

  • When chemotherapy is useful?
  • Aftercare in the hospital or at home?

These include the cells of the mouth, the mucous cells in the stomach and intestines, the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow, and the hair root cells. They are therefore very often unwanted side effects of chemotherapy affected.

Some side effects occur within hours or days after the start of treatment and disappear with the end of therapy, others do only after months or even years. The extent of adverse reactions depends primarily on the type and dose of the medication and the treatment duration. Also, the physical condition of the patient plays a significant role. Many side effects can be supported by therapeutic interventions to prevent or at least alleviate.

Complaints in the gastrointestinal tract

Nausea and vomiting are a frequent side effect of chemotherapy. With around one third of patients, the nausea immediately after each treatment. You can also expect a delay of a few days use. Nausea and vomiting are provided by the patients as a great burden, and can also cause serious health damage to the success of the treatment of cancer risk. For this reason, the use of so-called Antiemetics, the nausea and vomiting can prevent or relieve, now an integral part of chemotherapy.

Painful inflammation of the mouth, also a frequent side effect of chemotherapy, can be special care, such as rinsing with salt, sage or chamomile solution relief.

Disorders of blood formation

Disorders of the blood-forming cells are initially only in changes in the blood in laboratory tests visible. Only when high blood disorders such as persistent symptoms of weakness and fatigue from anemia (anemia, reduction of red blood cells), blood clotting disorders with increased bleeding (decrease in blood platelets) and infections (decrease in white blood cells).

If under chemotherapy fever, weakness, or bleeding, a doctor should immediately be consulted. In cases of serious blood disorders therapeutic countermeasures can be taken as the administration of growth factors, the regeneration of white blood cells stimulate (granulocyte-colony stimulating factors), blood transfusions or the administration of a growth hormone, the formation of red blood cells stimulated (erythropoietin) and the transfusion of blood platelets.

Before the start of treatment, the patients a prescription for a wig, which one’s own hair is perfectly adapted. Such medical wig is made of high quality synthetic hair that is practically no longer Genuine hair to distinguish 1st. Alternative to a wig, the hair with decorative towels or fashionable hats are covered. In general, the hair grow after the completion of cancer treatment again.

Persistent severe fatigue and exhaustion (fatigue)
Conditions of prolonged fatigue and exhaustion, including fatigue, are a frequent phenomenon in the context of a cancer treatment. You can follow chemotherapy-related anemia (anemia) be. In such cases, improving the welfare of the patients with the treatment of anemia.

Also a longer period of time after the conclusion of a cancer therapy may be a fatigue occur, the causes for this are still in the dark. In investigations, it was observed that physical activity and sport on the other hand, can help.

Dysfunction of the ovaries

Chemotherapy can damage the ovaries and thus disturbances in the menstrual cycle cause. Even an early onset of menopause, with symptoms is possible. During the treatment, this is temporarily even desirable, since the formation of sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone) is blocked, the growth of breast tumors accelerate.

Whether the ovaries after completion of therapy to recover full function and their ability to win back depends primarily on age of the patient and the nature and intensity of the chemotherapy starting. Not infrequently, the chemotherapy, however, with a complete loss of ovarian function. Women to have children should be before the start of chemotherapy in detail about new opportunities for informed, fertility despite receiving chemotherapy.

Even the heart can be affected

In addition to the above side effects, there are those that only occur in certain cytostatics. This includes an injury to the heart muscle with a reduction in pumping by the drug group of anthracyclines. This disorder is dose-dependent, so in the therapy with anthracyclines certain limits which should not be exceeded.

The active group of taxanes may be allergic reactions and feelings disorders, Miss and tingling sensations on the hands and feet cause. The cytostatic drug docetaxel can deformations of the foot-and fingernails may result.

Again and again has been made in breast cancer patients disturbance of concentration and an asset impairment of memory found. The reasons for this as “chemo brain” ( “chemo brain”) described, usually only a temporary phenomenon occurring is still unknown. Recent studies suggest, however, suggest that chemotherapy may not be responsible, but psychological factors associated with the disease.

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