Side effects of chemotherapy and targeted therapy
The side effects of chemotherapy and targeted therapy drugs vary depending on the drugs given. Ask your haematologist about the specific side effects of the drugs you are taking. Some people have a reaction to the infusion – signs of this include flushing, low blood pressure, high temperature or itching. Giving the drug over several hours can help reduce reactions.
Chemotherapy drugs can affect your healthy cells, which may cause a range of side effects. For example, you may:
- bruise easily
- feel very tired
- feel sick (nauseous)
- have changes to taste and smell
- have an increased risk of infections (learn ways to manage this risk).
If you are having chemotherapy as tablets, side effects are usually mild, but the effects may be stronger if you have intravenous chemotherapy.
The side effects of targeted therapy may include:
- an increased risk of infection
Your haematologist will prescribe various medicines to help ease any side effects. Some people will need a blood transfusion.
I had no idea that I would still be feeling tired five months after finishing treatment. I didn’t know how to make it better and I was scared that’s how it would be: that I wouldn’t go back to normal, that I would never go back to having energy again.Judy
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Dr Chun Kei Kris Ma, Clinical Haematologist, Western Sydney Local Health District; Delphine Eggen, Consumer; Dr Robin Gasiorowski, Staff Specialist, Haematology, Concord Hospital; Karl A Jobburn, Haematology Clinical Nurse Consultant, Liverpool Hospital; Yvonne King, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Heather Mackay, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Westmead Hospital; Jennifer Paton, Consumer.
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