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Here are 5 Major Side Effects of Chemotherapy

As a new study warns of rising cancer rates, scroll down to find out more about the effects of chemotherapy

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Updated:May 15, 2019, 2:00 PM IST
Here are 5 Major Side Effects of Chemotherapy
As a new study warns of rising cancer rates, scroll down to find out more about the effects of chemotherapy

A new study has estimated that over 1.5 crore people will need chemotherapy worldwide each year by 2040. It also suggested that around one lakh cancer physicians will be required to treat the growing number of cancer patients mostly in low and middle-income countries.

Although chemotherapy can cause unpleasant side effects, these can be “treated or prevented and most will pass once your treatment stops,” according to UK’s National Health Service (NHS).


Tiredness or fatigue is one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy, says the NHS. Getting plenty of rest and avoiding strenuous tasks or activities might prove of some help if you are suffering from chemotherapy-related tiredness or fatigue.

Feeling sick and vomiting

Chemotherapy can also make cancer patients feel sick or vomit.

Hair loss

Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy and usually starts within a few weeks of the first chemotherapy treatment session. The hair loss is almost always temporary and your hair should start to grow back soon after your treatment has finished, according to NHS. Wearing a cold cap while you're having chemotherapy may reduce the chances of hair loss.


Another side effect of chemotherapy is that it can reduce your body's immunity and make it more susceptible to infections. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water and avoid contact with people who have infections such as chickenpox or flu.


Chemotherapy lowers the number of red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. If your red blood cell count drops too low, you'll develop anaemia and symptoms might include tiredness and lack of energy. Contact your doctor if you suffer from shortness of breath, heart palpitations or a pale complexion as a result of chemotherapy treatment. Also, include a high amount of iron in your diet.

Other possible side effects may include bruising and bleeding or a sore mouth

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