Monitoring symptoms and side effects

Cancer itself can cause a range of symptoms, and cancer treatments often cause side effects.

Common symptoms and side effects include:

  • pain
  • nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite
  • breathlessness
  • fatigue.

See Managing common symptoms and side effects for some tips for helping someone manage these issues.

You can call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or visit your local Cancer Council website to find out more about these and other common issues experienced by people with cancer. However, it’s always important to let your treatment team know if symptoms and side effects become difficult to manage – they will often be able to offer you medicines and other treatments that can help.

The treatment team will let you know which side effects need to be closely monitored and when you need to contact them. Some issues that require urgent medical attention include:

  • a temperature of 38°C or above
  • persistent or severe nausea or vomiting
  • redness or swelling around the site of an injection
  • chills with shaking or shivering
  • severe abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhoea
  • unusual bleeding (e.g. nose bleeding for over 30 minutes)
  • any serious unexpected side effects or sudden deterioration in the person’s health.

Listen to podcasts on Cancer Affects the Carer Too and How to Help Someone with Cancer


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