Medical Side Effects Information

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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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Fish Oil Fights Weight Loss Due to Chemotherapy

A new analysis has found that supplementing the diet with fish oil may prevent muscle and weight loss that commonly occurs in people with cancer who undergo chemo­therapy.

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How Cancer Affects Your Hair, Skin, and Nails

by Carol R. Drucker, MD

One of the most common questions people have when diagnosed with cancer is “Will I lose my hair?” The answer for many is yes, but only temporarily. The loss and regrowth of hair during the cancer experience is usually due to chemotherapy treatment. Treatment can also have effects on the nails and the skin. The changes are usually temporary, but it helps to know what to expect.

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How to Quell that Queasy Feeling

Side effects of cancer treatments often include nausea and vomiting. There are many reasons for this, including the cancer treatments themselves, some pain medications, liver damage, severe constipation or bowel blockage, and anxiety.

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Worried About Cancer-Related Hair Loss?

For many people, the loss of one’s hair can be one of the most emotionally upsetting aspects of coping with cancer. It is, of course, a visible sign of the presence of your illness. Here are some tips to help you cope with this (usually temporary) change in your appearance.

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Are You Tired of Cancer-Related Fatigue?

by Carmen P. Escalante, MD

Cancer-related fatigue is not just a usual state of tiredness. It is more severe and affects your usual daily activities. Often, you do not feel refreshed after a night’s sleep. Cancer-related fatigue is the most common side effect reported by people with cancer. It is usually caused by multiple factors, including the cancer itself, cancer treatment, anemia, nutritional factors, sleep dysfunction, psychological issues (such as depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders), pain, medications, and other chronic illnesses.

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