Managing Side Effects
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Because cancer cells grow and divide rapidly, many anti-cancer treatments (e.g., chemotherapy, radiation therapy) are made to destroy fast-growing cells. However, certain normal, healthy cells also grow quickly and cancer treatments can affect these cells too. When it does, side effects may result.
The fast-growing, normal cells most likely to be affected by certain cancer treatments are blood-forming cells in the bone marrow, as well as cells in the digestive track, reproductive system, and hair follicles. Fortunately, most normal cells recover quickly when treatment is over. Therefore, most side effects gradually disappear after treatment ends.
During the course of your cancer journey, you may experience many, some, or no side effects. Side effects are unique to the cancer type and stage, as well as the type of treatment you receive, your overall health status, and other factors.
As you fight cancer, it is important to minimize side effects so you can stay strong and continue your treatment regime with fewer interruptions. It is also important to reduce side effects so you can maintain your quality of life.
This section contains information to help you better understand and manage some of the more common side effects related to cancer and its treatment.