Managing cancer side effects

Cancer and cancer treatments may cause a range of side effects. They vary depending on the treatments you were given, and they may vary from person to person, and even among those having the same treatment.

It can take time to get over the side effects of treatment. Some problems resolve quickly; others can take weeks, months or even years to improve.

– Neil

Ask your health care team what side effects you are likely to experience.

Listen to our podcasts on Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis and Making Treatment Decisions

Learn about managing these common side effects:

  • Fatigue: This is the most common side effect of cancer and its treatment. Information on what causes it and how to cope.
  • Hair loss: Tips on why hair loss happens and how to take care of your hair and scalp during and after treatment. 
  • Taste and smell changes:  How to manage common changes to the taste of food and drink during treatment.
  • Changes in thinking and memory: Some people diagnosed with cancer notice changes in the way they think and remember information. Learn more about how to manage your day-to-day tasks and improve thinking and memory.
  • Lymphoedema: Information on what lymphoedema is, why it can develop following treatment for cancer, signs and symptoms of lymphoedema, how it is diagnosed, and treatment and management options.
  • Mouth health: This information is about side effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery or a combination of treatments that affect the mouth area.
  • Nutrition: Information on managing changes to appetite, weight, taste and smell and other issues such as feeling sick, having a sore mouth, trouble swallowing and bowel changes such as diarrhoea and constipation.
  • Cancer pain: How to overcome different types of cancer pain, treatments and non-medication options, and caring for someone in pain.
  • Breast prostheses and reconstruction: What to consider when deciding whether or not to wear a prosthesis or get a reconstruction after breast surgery.
  • Fertility: Information for when cancer treatment affects the ability to conceive a child or maintain a pregnancy (fertility).
  • Sexuality: How to manage changes to your sexuality and intimate relationships.