Tag Archives: mouth sores

The side effects of cancer drugs and some tips that may help

Do you know most of the possible side effects of cancer drugs?  Most people that have never experienced cancer only think that the side effects are hair loss and vomiting.  Well, there are so many more side effects and today I am going to talk about the ugly truth about the side effects of the cancer drugs.  The side effects that some if not most will experience as they battle cancer.  I will also include some tips as well.


Fatigue/overwhelming tiredness – Some cancer warriors experience lots of fatigue and being super tired.  *TIP: If you have a loved one or friend battling cancer – let your cancer warrior rest when they are tired.  Not resting can make the fatigue even worse.  Rest when you are tired.

Pain – Some warriors complain of pain in joints, headaches, bone pain and stomach pain.  The pain can be described as shooting, numbing, gnawing, pulsating, burning, and excruciating.  This pain can be temporary or it can last  years after cancer treatment.  *TIP : Ask the doctor what he/she suggest for pain.  Also ask if trying to use heating pads, cold packs, meditation, yoga, or/and acupuncture will work.

Mouth, tongue and throat sores/ulcers – These sores making eating, drinking and talking almost unbearable. Sometimes the sores are on the outside of the mouth, sometimes on the inside.  *TIP :  Try to avoid salty and spicy items (that makes the sores burn even more).  Floss gently.  Use a soft toothbrush.  Gargle with warm water. Use alcohol free mouthwash.

Constipation – Some of the medications can cause constipation.  *TIP : Drink plenty of fluids.  Put extra fiber in your diet.  Try to get some exercise.  Drink a glass of prune juice or eat prunes as a snack.

Diarrhea – Another side effect that most people don’t talk about is diarrhea/runny stools/ loose stools.  This side effect is very embarrassing for some.  *Tip :  Drink plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration.  Avoid prune and apple juice.  Ask what medication that your doctor recommends.

Nausea/Vomiting – This is the side effect everyone thinks about when you talk about Chemotherapy.  Not everyone experiences nausea and vomiting.  *TIP: Slowly drink liquids.  Eat small meals.  Try lightly smelling an alcohol wipe.  Move slowly.  Use a cold wash cloth to wipe the face.  Drink hot Peppermint or Chamomile tea.  Drink some ginger-ale.  Try slowly dissolving a piece of hard candy in your mouth.  Try slowly eating a lollipop.

Loss of Hunger – This a normal yet not frequently thought about side effect.  Again, this is normal.  *TIP : Eat small meals five -seven times a day. Drink Ensure to keep caloric needs up.  Eat when you are hungry.  Try eating in an area that makes you feel happy or relaxed.

Changes in memory/ thought processing (Chemo- brain) – Yes, there is such thing as Chemo-brain.  So many people have chemo brain.  *TIP : Write down important dates and conversations in a specific notebook that you keep with at all times.  Write down any questions that you have in the same book.  Do crossword/ word search/ sodoku.  Take a small recorder on doctor’s appointments so that you can listen to the conversation when you get home.

Hair Loss – Hair can either fall out by pieces or by clumps.  Some people never experience hair loss.  *TIP:  There are new studies coming out with a cooling cap to help prevent hair loss… I really don’t have the feedback at this time to recommend it.  There are some agencies that will help with the cost of a wig, if you need help with that, please let me know.

Depression /Anxiety  – Depression and anxiety is very common among those fighting cancer.  It is perfectly normal to feel this way.  *TIP : Try to spend time with friends and family.  Go for small walks.  Try focusing on one day at a time.  Hang a bird feeder outside of the bedroom window and watch the birds eat.  Get a pen pal.  Get a hobby that you can do to take your mind off of battling cancer. Learn to crochet, knit or cross stitch.

*With my tips, please always ask your doctor first.

So now you know the bad and down right ugly side effects of cancer medications.  Please keep your cancer warrior in mind as they not only battle cancer, but they are also battling their cancer fighting drugs.