Effects of Treatment

Cancer treatment is geared toward positive outcomes, such as removing the cancer, reducing tumor size, and preventing recurrence. However, many of the treatments used to accomplish that have their own challenges for our bodies. Prior knowledge of what to expect helps in treatment decision-making and getting the support you need to deal with these effects.

Anxiety disorder: Anxiety is an understandable reaction to cancer, but we don’t want it interfering with your quality of life or ability to follow through with therapy.

Brain swelling: Corticosteroids are also used to decrease the amount of swelling in the brain

Depression: About one-fourth of cancer patients become depressed, often due to the stressful issues a cancer diagnosis raises.

Fatigue: The most common effect of cancer treatment, this fatigue is different than the kind healthy people experience.

Gastrointestinal complications: Constipation, diarrhea, or nutritional issues may be side effects, particularly of chemotherapy.

Headache: Pain medication can help manage the pain from headaches, a common symptom of a brain tumor or after treatment. Often, drugs call corticosteroids are used to lower swelling in the brain, which can lessen pain from the swelling without the need for prescription pain medications.

Myelosuppression: A side effect of some chemotherapy is depression of the bone marrow, which reduces its ability to produce white blood cells to fight infection, platelets for clotting, and red blood cells. Medications are available to stimulate the bone marrow to produce white cells to fight infection and sepsis.

Nausea and Vomiting: These can be serious consequences of cancer treatment and must be controlled so cancer therapy can continue and you can live your normal life. Healthy diets and good nutrition are especially important for cancer patients, but the treatment may impact your ability to get adequate nutrition without the help of professionals.

Pain: Tumors, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy can all cause pain.

Peripheral Neuropathy: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a set of symptoms caused by damage to the nerves that control the movement of our arms and legs, and activity of the bladder and bowel.

Seizures: More often caused by the brain tumor itself, they rarely arise after surgery. Anti-seizure medication may be needed to help control seizures. There are several types of drugs available, and they are prescribed by your neurologist.

Sleep Disorders: More common in people with cancer, sleep may be disturbed by the cancer, pain, or certain drugs or treatments.


Cardio-oncology is a new medical discipline focused on optimally treating any associated heart conditions in patients who have been treated for cancer, or are currently being treated for cancer. Specialized cardiologists can assess patients for the potential risk of developing certain heart conditions, especially if they are receiving particular types of cancer drugs, or following radiation treatment to the chest.