Medical Side Effects Information

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Coping with the Side Effects of Cancer Surgery

Cancer surgery, like all cancer treatments, comes with benefits, risks, and side effects. The types and intensity of side effects vary from person to person and with the type and location of the cancer, the type of surgery, and the person’s health. If you and your doctor decide that surgery will be a part of your cancer treatment, you will be given information about all aspects of your treatment before you consent to surgery, including the side effects you may experience.

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Surviving – Even Thriving – with an Ostomy

by Dorothy Doughty, MN, RN, CWOCN, FAAN

Coping with a cancer diagnosis is a huge challenge for anyone – but if your cancer involved the bladder, rectum, or cervix, you may also be coping with an ostomy. An ostomy is an opening on the abdominal wall that provides for elimination of stool or urine. A person with an ostomy must wear a pouch to collect the stool or urine.

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Updated Guideline on the Use of Antiemetics to Prevent Vomiting and Nausea after Chemotherapy and Radiation Issued

The American Society of Clinical Oncology has issued an update to its clinical practice guideline on the use of antiemetic medications to prevent vomiting and nausea resulting from treatment with chemotherapy or radiation. The new guideline includes comprehensive, stratified recommendations on the use of antiemetics during treatment with chemotherapy drugs that are classified as high, moderate, minimal, and low risk for causing vomiting and nausea.

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How Should I Care for Myself During Radiation Therapy?

Nearly two-thirds of all cancer patients will receive radiation therapy during their illness. How should you care for yourself during treatment?

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Cancer Therapy and Your Fertility

by Carolyn R. Kaplan, MD

Each year, cancer occurs in about 113 out of every 100,000 women under age 50 in the United States. Complicating matters, the trend toward delaying childbearing means that many women will not have had children when they are diagnosed. While it is known that cancer therapy can affect a woman’s fertility, fewer than 25 percent of oncologists inform women about their risks and options. Men with cancer have long been able to preserve their fertility by freezing their sperm. Unfortunately, sperm quality is often affected by cancer, and there may be poor sperm quality at the time of diagnosis.

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Cancer and Your Mouth

by Debra Harris, RN, MSN, OCN, and Malinda Burt, RN, BSN, OCN

Mucositis is a general term that describes inflammation of mucosal cells that line the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the rectum. This inflammation most commonly affects the mouth and esophagus (throat), but may be present throughout the gastrointestinal tract.

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Skin Conditions Could Hinder Treatment in People with Cancer

A cancer diagnosis and sub-sequent treatment, which commonly includes chemo­therapy or radiation, can be taxing physically and emotionally on anyone. If that is not enough, dermatologists are cautioning people receiving cancer treat­ment and cancer survivors that they may experience a host of skin, hair, or nail problems as a direct result of their ther­apy that may require additional treatment by a dermatologist.

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Understanding Cancer-Related Lymphedema

by Ellen Poage-Hooper, ARNP, MPH, CLT-LANA

Among the numerous side effects of cancer therapies, perhaps none is more misunderstood or underestimated than lymphedema. Once therapies are over, hair grows back, the appetite returns, energy is restored, but lymphedema is unpredictable. It can develop at any time, and if it does, man­aging it can be tricky.

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