General Side Effects

We aim to prevent side effects rather than waiting for them to occur.  By following these simple guidelines you can take an active role in your cancer treatment.  Your nurses will teach you more about these during your treatment.

Fatigue:

Tiredness is very common.  Listen to your body, rest when you need to.

Nausea/Vomiting:

May occur, but is controllable with medication.  Do not feel that this is something that you must tolerate.  If the anti-nausea medications are not controlling your nausea, speak to your doctor or the nurses that are treating you.

Hair loss:

Does not occur with all chemo.  If it does occur it can be extremely upsetting.  There are strategies in place to support you through this.  Please speak with your nurse about available services.

Mouth Ulcers:

Prevention is the key.  Good oral hygiene is essential, but if you still develop ulcers their are a number of treatments available.  Including, over the counter treatments such as:

BIOTIN, DIFFLAM MOUTH WASH, NILSTAT and SM33.  Avoid commercial mouthwashes such as listerine as they contain large amounts of alcohol and may irritate your mouth.

Gastric upsets:

Diarrhoea or constipation may occur.  Medication may be required. Please ask your doctor or nurse if you are concerned.

Over the counter medications we advise are:

Diarrhoea: IMMODIUM, LOMOTIL, GASTROSTOP

Constipation: COLOXYL, DUPHALAC, LACTULOSE, METAMUCIL

Increase your fluid and fibre intake

  • Do not use enemas

Headaches:

Some anti-nausea medications commonly cause headaches.  Taking PANADOL/PANAMAX/PANADEINE is OK but let your doctor know if they persist.

Reflux/heartburn:

MYLANTA, GAVISCON, ZANTAC, RANI are all available over the counter at your chemist and will not interfere with your chemotherapy.

Low Blood Counts:

Chemotherapy often lowers your blood count.  We will monitor your blood counts regularly with a blood test.

  • Low Red Cells (anaemia) - May cause excess fatigue or shortness of breath.  This may be treated with a blood transfusion.

  • Low Platelets (bleeding) - Inform us immediately should you have unusual bleeding or black bowel actions.  A platelet transfusion may be given if your platelets are especially low.

Low White Cells (infection) - This is very important

Low white cells may make you prone to infections.

You MUST monitor your temperature with a thermometer.

If you have a fever (38 degrees or more) - You should go to your nearest emergency department.  You may be admitted for IV antibiotics until your immune system recovers.

swoncology@swarh.vic.gov.au

PH: 03 5534211

FAX: 03 55634217

SWRCC, 28-30 Ryot Street, Level 1

WARRNAMBOOL  3280