Chemotherapy, a common treatment for mesothelioma, involves using powerful drugs to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. While chemotherapy can be effective, it often comes with various side effects, which can vary in severity depending on the specific drugs used and the individual’s response to treatment. Some common side effects of chemotherapy for mesothelioma include:
- Nausea and vomiting: Chemotherapy can trigger nausea and vomiting, although anti-nausea medications are often prescribed to help manage these symptoms.
- Fatigue: Feeling tired or fatigued is a common side effect of chemotherapy. This can range from mild to severe and may persist throughout the treatment period.
- Hair loss: Many chemotherapy drugs can cause hair loss, although this isn’t the case for everyone and depends on the specific drugs used.
- Loss of appetite: Some individuals undergoing chemotherapy may experience a decreased appetite, leading to weight loss or difficulty maintaining proper nutrition.
- Weakened immune system: Chemotherapy can suppress the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections. Precautions are often recommended to reduce the risk of infections.
- Mouth sores: Some chemotherapy drugs can cause sores or ulcers in the mouth, which can be painful and affect eating and oral hygiene.
- Changes in blood cell counts: Chemotherapy can lower the levels of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, leading to anemia, increased risk of infections, and bleeding or bruising easily.
- Nerve damage (neuropathy): Certain chemotherapy drugs may cause tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands and feet.
- Constipation or diarrhea: Chemotherapy can affect the digestive system, leading to constipation or diarrhea.
- Skin and nail changes: Some individuals may experience changes in their skin, such as increased sensitivity to sunlight or nail changes like discoloration or brittleness.
- Fertility issues: Chemotherapy can affect fertility in both men and women, potentially causing temporary or permanent infertility.
It’s important to note that not everyone will experience all these side effects, and some may have different or more severe reactions. Doctors can often provide medications or other supportive measures to help manage these side effects and improve the overall quality of life during chemotherapy treatment. Additionally, discussing potential side effects and concerns with the healthcare team before starting treatment can help individuals better prepare and manage any issues that may arise.