Chemotherapy is supposed to make cancer patients better, but before you get better, you may feel worse. That’s because chemotherapy can have a lot of side effects, including pain. Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize the discomfort caused by chemotherapy.
At CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center, our team of board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists work with cancer patients to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
If you have cancer, your oncologist may recommend chemotherapy to try to fight back against multiplying cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be done at various stages of cancer for different objectives:
As a primary treatment for cancer
Chemotherapy is able to target some forms of cancer well, killing as many cancer cells as possible while doing minimal damage to the rest of the body.
As a secondary treatment for cancer
Chemotherapy can also be used after other treatments for cancer, such as surgery. In this case, chemotherapy is aimed at killing any lingering cancer cells that may have escaped excision.
As a preparatory treatment for cancer
Chemotherapy can be a useful tool in preparing for another treatment. Many doctors use chemotherapy to shrink cancerous tumors before applying radiation or doing surgery.
As palliative care for cancer
Chemotherapy can be used to ease signs and symptoms of cancer even in terminal patients by killing some of the cancer cells.
Chemotherapy side effects
Chemotherapy can take a toll on your body, causing a wide range of side effects as it works to kill cancer cells. Some of the more common side effects of chemotherapy include:
- Fatigue and anemia
- Hair loss
- Skin and nail changes
- Easy bruising and bleeding and infection
- Nausea, vomiting, and weight or appetite changes
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Mouth, tongue, and throat problems, such as sores or swallowing issues
- Peripheral neuropathy, which is numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and/or feet
- Urine/bladder changes or kidney problems
- Mood changes
- Difficulty focusing and concentrating
- Problems with libido, sexual function, and fertility
Treating chemotherapy side effects
Possibly the hardest part to handle for many patients is increased pain when chemotherapy starts. Changes in how nerves transmit signals to the brain, damage to nerves, and inflammation can all cause pain during chemotherapy treatment.
Common pain during chemotherapy includes:
- Muscle pain
- Stomach pain
- Pain or burning in the feet or hands
We provide a variety of multidisciplinary treatments that can help cancer patients manage pain. These treatments include the following:
- Injection therapy
- Relaxation techniques
- Biofeedback and imagery
To schedule a consultation, call the location closest to you or request an appointment online.
Our Maryland offices are located in Hyattsville, Gaithersburg, Lanham, Dundalk, Oxon Hill, Rosedale, and Olney, and we have two offices in Baltimore.