Post-treatment cancer care assumes a lot of importance in order to tackle the side effects of chemotherapy. While the treatment might cure people of the disease, it affects the body and mind in different ways. Before undergoing the treatment, doctors counsel patients elaborately to explain the outcome in terms of the effects that it has on the body. Chemotherapy is a life-changing event not only because of the battle that it wages against cancer but also because of some long-term effects on future health and lifestyle. Cancer survivors must deal with several issues related to their physical and mental health even though they would have the satisfaction of winning the biggest battle of their lives.
The chemotherapy sessions just mark the beginning of a long battle that continues even after completion of the treatment. To cope with the situation that arises after treatment, preparing for what happens after chemo is finished becomes very important for cancer patients.
Physical changes that follow the treatment
Hair loss – The body goes through a number of changes after chemotherapy, and the signs are quite visible at times like losing hair after chemotherapy which is a very common phenomenon that many cancer patients go through. The thought of looking at a bald head can be terrifying, especially for women, but the good thing is that it takes about a month or two for new hair growth. But the hair quality could be different in texture, color, and thickness than what it used to be earlier. With time as the effects of chemotherapy keep withering and new hair grows in the way, it was before the treatment.
Weight – The treatment of chemotherapy uses different drugs, and some drugs might add weight to the body. Certain drugs for breast cancer can make you lose muscles and gain fat, and it can be very challenging to prevent it from happening no matter how hard you may try to control weight. Taking up strength training exercises should improve muscles and bring down weight, and you must seek guidance from a dietician or nutritionist to assist you in your efforts to cut down the extra fat added.
Fatigue – Chemotherapy treatment affects the body severely, and patients experience fatigue not only during the treatment but also after it. For many days and weeks after the treatment, people may still feel exhausted and lack of energy to resume their normal activities. The drugs are not the only cause for fatigue as it also depends on the body constitution of individuals. The fatigue keeps lingering, and despite adequate rest and good sleep, the sluggishness continues. In most cases, the phase continues for about six months after which the body regains the energy levels that you were used to earlier and ready to lead a normal life.
Mouth sores – The gums, insides of cheeks, tongue, and throat are prone to sores. To avoid infections, you should start early treatment.
There are many more side effects, but most go away within some time while only a few may continue for longer.