Common Side Effects of Lymphoma Treatments
The most commonly used treatments for lymphoma are chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Chemotherapy involves the administration or application of drugs infused into the veins of the patients. Chemotherapy could also be taken in the form of oral pills. Radiotherapy uses high-energy light rays that are specially and strategically directed at the cancer cells targeted. This form of therapy could be delivered even over small body areas (involved field radiation) or over large areas (extended field radiation).
Such lymphoma treatments are quite toxic. They are designed to strategically kill targeted cancer cells. It is not impossible that during the process, several normal cells are also being damaged. Thus, there are inevitable side effects. However, rest assured that most side effects of lymphoma treatments are only temporary. Such unlikely effects are resolved soon following completion of the treatments. Here are some of the commonly identified side effects of treatments used to cure lymphoma.
Feeling sick. There are chemotherapy drugs that could certainly make you feel nauseous or sick. There could even be several episodes of vomiting especially when chemotherapy comes with radiotherapy for the abdomen. Nausea is often prevented through administration of anti-emetics drugs prior to every cycle of chemotherapy combined with radiotherapy. These days, there are even medicines that help control nausea and vomiting.
Hair loss. Chemotherapy usually leads to excessive loss of hair. The extent of alopecia could depend on the drug used in the session. There are other effective drugs that could lead to this problem. However, there is no need to worry because hair is almost always beginning to grow back a few months after completion of the treatment. In some cases, it may take more than a year before hair growth restarts.
Falling blood count and infection. During the course of the radiotherapy or chemotherapy, your blood count could fall below optimal or normal levels. Needless to say, your white blood cells are the most affected. You know that when white cell counts dip, the body could develop several forms of infections, often accompanied by fever. Contact your doctor at once when fever appears. You might need special treatment to boost your white cell count and take care of the infection. Any drop in red blood cells could easily be remedied through blood transfusions.
Loss of appetite. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy could alter your sense of taste especially during the duration of the treatment. However, like in hair loss, the sense of taste may return to normal following completion of the lymphoma treatment. Meanwhile, you should strive to take even small meals and drink plenty of water and fluids more frequently. Remember the importance of maintaining your overall nutrition during the treatment.
Sore mouth and sore skin. Lymphoma treatments could lead to sore mouth several weeks after the start of the program. Thus, you could feel difficulty or even pain in drinking and swallowing food. In most cases, doctors recommend temporarily switching to mashed foods that are much easier to swallow. Radiotherapy could cause soreness on the skin. However, such a problem is of no concern as skin sores easily go away immediately after radiation treatment.