It is important to not confuse side effects with cancer symptoms. Side effects are unwanted and unpleasant symptoms or reactions caused by the treatment, not by the disease itself. Many medical treatments do not affect just the part of the body where they are needed, they impact other parts of the body as well. This is what can make you feel unwell.
Treatment can control or stop cancer growth and therefore can also control cancer symptoms. Side effects can be managed through additional treatments, medicines or psychological interventions. Because people can react differently to the same treatment, their experiences of side effects can also be different.
- Some side effects are temporary or minor and can be easily managed, while others may be more difficult to manage
- Some side effects can be uncomfortable
- Some side effects can be serious health conditions that require more medical treatment
- Most side effects are reversible when treatment stops, but some are permanent
- Some people don’t experience any side effects from treatment, while some people experience many
- Always talk to your healthcare team about side effects because there might be ways of managing them. Support group networks may also be very helpful.