Chemotherapy can cause a range of side effects. It is important that you talk to your healthcare team about your concerns. Keep in mind that side effects depend on factors like the type of chemotherapy drugs that you need, the dose, and the way that they are given. Chemotherapy can be given by mouth, IV, or injection into the tumor or spinal column.
Side effects can also vary between individuals using the same treatment protocol. They may be related to your type and stage of cancer, other treatments you are getting, and your overall health.
The most common chemotherapy side effects include:
Your healthcare team can explain other side effects that you may experience and treatment options to make you feel more comfortable.
Remember that you are an individual, and the way that you respond to chemotherapy will be different than the way other people respond. You may not experience all of the side effects that your healthcare team describes. And if you do have problems related to the chemotherapy, there are treatments available, like medication to reduce nausea and vomiting. Work with your healthcare team by sharing concerns that you have and by asking about strategies that can help you get through this challenging time.
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
BC Cancer Agency
Canadian Cancer Society
Chemotherapy. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/chemotherapy.html. Accessed November 16, 2017.
Chemotherapy and you. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/chemotherapy-and-you.pdf. Published June 2011. Accessed November 16, 2017.
Toxicities of chemotherapeutic agents. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115935/Toxicities-of-chemotherapeutic-agents. Updated October 23, 2017. Accessed November 16, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP Last Updated: 12/21/2015