Side effects of Chemotherapy after the surgery to remove cancer
The chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill the cancer cells , It may be used alone or in the combination with the other treatments such as the surgery and the radiation therapy , depending on the tumor type and the extent of disease , Unlike the surgery , the treatment with the chemotherapy can be a long-term process with multiple courses of therapy given over time .
You should know that this schedule can lead to longer periods of weakness and it may affect the older adult with the cancer in different ways than the younger people , For example , The older adults are at greater risk for the experiencing physical side effects from the chemotherapy which influences their quality of life .
Chemotherapy is one of the most common treatments for the pancreatic cancer ( using the drugs to destroy the cancer cells ) , For the pancreatic cancer , The chemotherapy is used in several different ways , before or after the surgery to remove the cancer ( resection ) , when the cancer has spread to the nearby structures like the blood vessels around the pancreas ( the locally advanced pancreatic cancer ) .
When the cancer has spread beyond the pancreas to the other parts of the body ( the advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer ) , on its own or in the combination with the radiotherapy , The chemotherapy drugs can be used in several different ways .
Side effects of chemotherapy
It is very important to know that unlike the radiation therapy and the surgery , The chemotherapy affects the entire body that increases the risk of side effects , Not all the drugs have the same side effects , they occur more often in older adults , The harmful reactions from the chemotherapy are the only reason for about 10% of all hospital admissions for older people with cancer.
The side effects of chemotherapy include the lowered white blood cell , red blood cell , and platelet counts that can increase the risk for the infection , the anemia ( a decrease in the red blood cells ) , bleeding , and bruising , The stomach and the intestinal problems such as the nausea , the vomiting , the diarrhea , and the dehydration .
The most important side effect is the impact on your blood count , The chemotherapy can affect the bone marrow that produces the blood cells , So , It will cause the low levels of the red blood cells ( anaemia ) that can make you very tired and it sometimes make you breathless .
The chemotherapy causes the low levels of the platelets ( thrombocytopaenia ) that can lead to the bleeding as the platelets help the blood clots to form , the low levels of the white blood cells called the neutrophils ( neutropenia ) that makes you more likely to get the infections .
The chemotherapy can damage the nervous system that may further weaken the person’s mental capacity ( such as thinking or judgment the abilities ) , It can increase the memory loss , and cause the fatigue and the nerve damage , It can cause screening for any health problems before starting the treatment and adjusting the dose or the type of the drug during the treatment often minimizes these side effects .
The chemotherapy drugs causes the blood clot forming in the vein ( It is called the thrombosis , deep vein thrombosis or DVT ) , This is not very common , But having the pancreatic cancer means you may be more likely to get the blood clot , and some chemotherapy drugs can also make it more likely .
You have to know that the symptoms may include the swelling , the redness or the pain in your arms or legs, or the shortness of breath ( if the clot is in your lungs ) , The blood clots are dangerous but they can usually be treated successfully .
Chemotherapy after surgery to remove cancer
If someone have had the surgery to completely remove the cancer , This form of chemotherapy is called the adjuvant chemotherapy , It aims to try to reduce the chances of the cancer coming back , The drug most used after the surgery to remove the cancer is gemcitabine , Capecitabine can be used , 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) can be an alternative treatment option .
You have to know that you should be recovered well from your operation before starting the chemotherapy treatment , You should be recovered from any complications of the surgery such as the chest infections or bleeding , You need to be back to the reasonable level of the normal activity and fitness .
It is very important to know that your wound should be healed , with no signs of infection , You have to be able to eat and drink well , and your bowels should be working normally , The chemotherapy will usually start within 12 weeks of the surgery , And it will be planned to be given for six months .