Post Chemotherapy Side Effects
Most of the side effects arising from chemotherapy are temporary and they disappear once the treatment is over. But there are some side effects that have a long term effect on some people. The side effects exist even after months or many years after the treatment is done. Post chemotherapy side effects differ from person to person. One needs to be careful and keep a close check on the body to see what triggers the side effects.
Post chemotherapy, most cancer patients feel tired than usual for a long time. This usually happens if the patients go through vigorous treatments like high dose of chemotherapy drugs, intensive treatment, or if the patient undergoes a stem cell or a bone marrows transplant. After such intensive treatments it is likely that the person has a low resistance towards infection and other external anti-bodies for a long time after the treatment is over. The person might slowly get back to normal but it would at times take months together.
In certain cases the chemotherapy drugs used to cure cancer might also lead to infertility, which is quite serious.
Some drugs used during chemotherapy can cause problems with specific body organs for a very long time. It might also be permanent. For example, there are drugs that cause lung damage or heart damage. The doctors are aware of the drastic side effects of certain drugs and therefore they keep a close check on the patients who are prescribed with the drugs. A lot of tests are done before the treatment and even throughout, to keep a check on the reaction of the drug. If a patient has a heart problem then some chemotherapy drugs are not given to the patient. Doctors also check for side effects even after a few years from the treatment.
Side effects from certain chemotherapy drugs could be a lot more hazardous as a patient might get another cancer in the future. This is also termed as a second cancer. But this is not very common and it occurs only with a few chemotherapy drugs. Your doctor will talk to you about all the possible side effects of the drugs you are prescribed. There are chances that you might not have any risk at all but even if there is a risk it is better to cure the cancer that you already have.
There are a lot of drugs used for chemotherapy and all the drugs have different side effects. If you are thinking about the long term side effects and worried about it, you should ask the doctor about all the possible long term effects the drugs might have. You can also make yourself aware of the side effects by reading different books and visiting trusted websites to check what the side effects the prescribed drug might give.
The Department of Health has set up a National Survivorship Initiative (NSI) which records all the possible problems a person who has completed the treatment faces. They closely monitor the long term side effects of the treatment apart from advising and assisting people with financial and work issues.