Most cancer treatments, whether chemotherapy drugs or radiation therapy, work by killing the cancer cells that are in your body. Unfortunately, normal cells near the cancer site and other parts of your body are sometimes also affected by treatment. When this happens, it's called a “side effect” of your treatment.

Fortunately, research in both cancer treatment and side effect management has brought about many solutions to side effect problems. There are two important points for you to remember about side effects:

  • You need to let the doctor know right away if you are having symptoms that may be related to your treatment.
  • Many side effects can be effectively minimized or eliminated so that you can remain comfortable throughout your therapy and do not miss any treatments.

The following sections make recommendations regarding some of the side effects that you may experience: