Adjuvant Therapies of Cancer
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Some chemotherapy medications may cause your eyelashes and eyebrows to fall out. They will grow back in after your chemotherapy treatment with that medication is over.
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Chemotherapy can cause changes to your skin. You may have darkening of your skin, nails, tongue, and the veins that were used to give you the chemotherapy. You may also have general skin changes, including:. Many people describe fatigue as feeling weak or having no energy. Fatigue from treatment can range from a mild to an extreme feeling of being tired. Some chemotherapy treatments can affect the way your heart functions. They may cause you to have a fast heartbeat, feel fatigued, or have trouble breathing.
Cancer treatment can sometimes affect your mind. You may also notice that you:. Many things can cause these changes. Fatigue, mood changes, stress, anxiety, normal aging, hormonal changes, cancer itself, and anesthesia medication to make you sleep can affect your thinking for some period of time. If you do have any of these problems, an occupational therapist can help you with your everyday activities. They can also help you improve your attention, concentration, and memory. Cancer treatment may sometimes cause hot flashes or sweating that can affect your daily routine or your sleep.
Breast cancer and breast cancer treatment may change how you look. This may be because of a tumor, radiation, surgery, or a combination of these. Changes in your body from cancer treatment may affect:. Some treatments may cause your periods to change to heavy or light , become irregular, or stop. Your treatment plan may also include medication or surgery that will stop your periods.
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Many women have vaginal dryness after menopause or from hormonal treatments. This can make penetrative sex painful or difficult.
It can also make it easier to get urinary tract infections UTI. These treatments can cause birth defects. Even women whose menstrual periods have recently stopped may still be at risk of getting pregnant for some time. Oral birth control contains estrogen and progesterone. These hormones may stimulate tumor growth. Men and women on chemotherapy should use barrier methods of birth control such as condoms, diaphragms, or both.
Chemotherapy or hormonal therapy can cause infertility for both men and women. Discuss this with your doctor before you start treatment. You may be able to take steps to preserve your fertility by freezing your eggs for women , sperm for men or embryos. You can also read the following resources for more information:. These feelings are different for everyone, but some common ones include:.
About 2 to 5 years after your treatment ends, your care may be transferred from your doctor to a survivorship nurse practitioner NP. They will examine you and order tests, focusing on your long-term physical and psychological needs. Your survivorship NP will communicate with your local doctor about your breast cancer treatment and recovery so that in time, you can transfer your care to your local doctor. During your treatments, you may get medications that can make you very drowsy sleepy. It may be helpful if a friend or family member could pick you up at the end of your treatment.
After your first treatment, you will have a better idea of how you feel and what works best for you. Food safety is also important during treatment.
Avoid raw or undercooked meat, fish, and poultry and unpasteurized products. Ask your nurse if you should read the Low-Microbial Diet resource. Drink lots of non-caffeinated liquids before and after your chemotherapy appointment to stay well hydrated. Nausea and vomiting can happen on the day you get chemotherapy or many days after getting chemotherapy. Always take your anti-nausea medication as instructed.
Some medication works best if you take it before you become nauseous. Chemotherapy works on both cancer cells and normal cells. This allows your normal cells to be replaced.
Your body may need more time to reverse the effects of therapy such as allowing any mouth sores to heal or blood counts to rise to normal. Your doctor will decide if your chemotherapy should be rescheduled and they will discuss the reasons with you. An ANC is an absolute neutrophil count. A neutrophil is a white blood cell that helps fight infections. The ANC count usually falls 7 to 14 days after getting chemotherapy. This is a precaution safety measure to prevent you from getting an infection. Your blood counts will increase again over time.
Your doctor may prescribe medication to maintain or raise your white blood cell count. These are usually shots given between treatments. Sometimes your treatment will be delayed to allow time for your blood counts to recover. Your doctor will discuss this with you. You can always reach a doctor. During evenings, weekends, or holidays, call the hospital operator at Different therapies cause different side effects. Different people also have different reactions to the same treatment. Your doctor and nurse will monitor your progress and response to treatment.
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- Neoadjuvant and Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer: Johns Hopkins Breast Center.
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If you feel like you have a fever or chills, check your temperature before you take acetaminophen. This is because the acetaminophen can lower your temperature and hide a fever, which is usually the first sign of infection. Call your doctor or nurse if you have chills or a fever greater than Ask your doctor or nurse if you can take products containing aspirin or ibuprofen. These can sometimes increase the chance for bleeding with some chemotherapy.
Your nurse can give you a list of products to avoid. Some chemotherapy can irritate your bladder. Side effects can be an urgency to urinate, burning when urinating, or blood in your urine. These may be signs of an infection or irritation.
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Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. They may want to collect some of your urine and test it to see if you have an infection. In most cases, you can keep taking your prescription medications. Tell your doctor the names of all the medications, herbs, and supplements you take.
These include the ones you need a prescription for and the ones you buy over-the-counter. Some medications, herbs, or supplements may change the way the chemotherapy works. You should avoid most vitamins, mineral, herbal, or other dietary supplements. They might interfere with your treatment or affect your cancer. They might also increase the side effects of your treatment. Your liver processes chemotherapy medications and many other medications.
Your liver also processes alcohol. This means that drinking alcohol while getting chemotherapy can:. For these reasons, you should limit alcohol during chemotherapy. If you want to drink alcohol, talk with your doctor or nurse. This may allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream, which could cause an infection. Check with your doctor before you schedule any dental work, including cleanings or surgery. Chemicals found in hair dye and for perms are irritating to the hair follicles. This can speed up hair loss during chemotherapy.
If you have to dye your hair, discuss this with your doctor first. People who lose their hair from cancer treatment may have insurance coverage for a wig.