There are some common side effects of cancer and its treatment. If you get side effects, there are ways you can manage them.

What are side effects?

The side effects of cancer treatment are outcomes that are secondary to the intended purpose of the treatment. 

The following are some common side effects of cancer treatment.

 

Bowel problems

Bowel problems after treatment, like incontinence, constipation, or flatulence, can be frustrating and embarrassing, but you can do things to improve them.

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Breathlessness

Breathlessness is the feeling of finding breathing hard or being short of breath. Breathlessness is a common symptom of some cancers, such as lung cancer. 

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Guest at a Cancer Society lodge Guest at a Cancer Society lodge

Early menopause and cancer

Menopause is the end of the monthly menstrual period. Early menopause, temporary or permanent, can be a side effect of cancer treatment.

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Feeling sick

Some cancers and cancer treatments can cause a range of side effects, like feeling sick (nausea), vomiting, fever and infections.

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Hair loss

Some people don’t lose their hair during cancer treatment. Other people find that their hair becomes thin and dry. But some people will lose all the hair from their head and body.

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Hats for cancer patients Hats for cancer patients

Incontinence

Incontinence means you have trouble controlling when and how you pee (urinate) and poo (pass a bowel motion).

Incontinence
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Client checks into a Cancer Society lodge Client checks into a Cancer Society lodge

Lymphoedema

Lymphoedema is the swelling of a part of the body when the lymphatic system is not working properly.

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Client talking to a Supportive Care Nurse Client talking to a Supportive Care Nurse

Mouth and eating problems

Problems with your mouth, taste and eating can impact your daily life and enjoyment of food.

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Cancer Society support group meets Cancer Society support group meets

Pain

Not everyone with cancer will have pain, but many do. If pain is not well-managed it can affect your ability to work, enjoy normal activities, and relate to family and friends.

Pain and cancer
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Visiting the pharmacy Visiting the pharmacy

Sleeping problems

If you are having trouble sleeping, there are things you can do that may help improve your sleep.

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Tiredness and fatigue

Fatigue is one of the most common side effects of cancer and its treatment.

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Talking to a friend about cancer Talking to a friend about cancer
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We know that going through cancer is tough and can raise many questions. You are not alone.

We have nurses and counsellors to answer your questions and provide the support you need. Get in touch

Last updated: July 16, 2021