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Side Effects of the Treatment

It is impossible to destroy only cancer cells during the treatment. Healthy cells are also destroyed with cancer cells. This results in certain side effects like falling of hair, indigestion etc.
It is natural that persons taking similar treatment may experience different side effect. A physician always makes efforts to ensure mare benefits and fewer side effects.


Side Effects Due to Surgery

When the breast is surgically removed, a woman experiences tightness or skin in the chest area and restricted movement of the shoulder. For some women, some weakness of muscle and restricted movement of shoulder are a permanent phenomenon but for most women, it is temporary. Regular exercise is helpful in normalizing the movement of shoulder. Some women may feel imbalance of weight due to removal of breast from one side. This may lead to feeling of discomfort in the back and neck.

During surgery, some sensory nerves are cut. As a result, sensations in the inner surface of arm may change or reduce. Usually, the sensations return after some time but some reduction in sensitivity may be permanent.

Lymphatic ducts have to be cut while removing lymph nodes from the axilla. As a result; lymph may get accumulated and the lymph edema may result The woman should take precautions to avoid injury to this arm and consult her physician immediately if any sign of infection appears.

Side Effects Due to Radiation

Radiation may affect the skin, ribs, lungs and heart. Near completion of radiation, a woman feels tired. It is necessary to take adequate rest during this time. Many doctors believe that a woman should continue working according to her strength and vigour. The skin becomes dry, black and itchy due to radiation. Towards completion, there may be oozing of watery fluid from the skin.

The woman should wear loose, cotton clothes and avoid perfumes. She should consult her doctor before applying anything on her skin. These symptoms will eventually reduce and the skin will heal.

Side Effects Due to Chemotherapy

Drugs used to treat cancer, destroy cells that grow continuously. In this process, other healthy, rapidly growing cells of our body are also destroyed. This leads to certain side effects which depend on the nature and dose of the drug used. The intensity and side effects vary individually. The common side effects are restlessness, nausea, loss of appetite and vomiting.

Chemotherapy also affects White blood cells (which fight against infection), Red blood cells (which provide oxygen to different body parts) and Platelets (which help in clotting of blood). Hence one gets tired easily and is prone to infections. The hair and digestive system have fast growing cells. The drugs used in chemotherapy inhibit its growth, which results in symptoms such as hair loss, ulcers in mouth, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Some may notice growth of facial hairs. Many of the side effects can be brought under control with help of drugs and food. These symptoms disappear during the resting period. Gradually all side effects will go away after the treatment is completed.

There are very few long-term side effects of chemotherapy. Some of these are poor pumping of heart. blood cancer or cancer of any other parts of the body. Ovaries may stop functioning leading to early menopause.

Side Effects of Hormonal Therapy

Tamoxifen is the most commonly used hormonal therapy. Its side effects are similar to menopause. It may occasionally lead to clotting of blood in veins or cancer of the uterus. The side effects of anstazole is similar to tamoxiphen but chances of osteoporosis seems to be much more, leading to need to suppliment calcium and vitamine D. If the ovaries are removed surgically, the woman may develop severe symptoms of menopause.

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