Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

Everyone tracks differently when it comes to side effects. Here are some different experiences from the people who shared their stories with The Patient Story. We provide a side effects ratings scale to indicate just how easy to difficult they had it. We've also separated them by cancer and treatment type.

Breast Cancer Experiences

Margaret Abe Koga

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) + Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS), Stage II

Double mastectomy: waking up to severe pain
*Solution: pain meds

Chemotherapy (ACT):
(AC) = fuzziness in head, queasiness in stomach, fatigue
*Solution: anti-nausea meds
(Taxol) = excruciating pain in knees, feet, joints
*Solution: doctor lowered chemo dosage

Radiation: no significant side effects


Genoa Martell

HER2, Stage III

Chemotherapy: nausea, fatigue, constipation, diarrhea
*Solution: Moving around by swimming & walking, drinking a lot of fluids to flush out the chemo




Doreen DiSalvo

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC), Stage III

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (TCHP): nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, sore throat, memory loss, loss of focus, loss of taste
*Solution: Biotene mouthwash, exercise

Lumpectomy: no significant side effects

Radiation: sore, constant burning of skin, exhaustion


Mila Lasarevsky

Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Stage 1B1

Chemotherapy (Cisplatin): fatigue, extreme nausea, heightened sense of smell, loss of taste, ringing in ears, neuropathy
*Solution: doctor lowered # of chemo sessions from 6 to 4, marijuana edibles to help with the nausea

Radiation: skin lesions, itchy skin, pelvic tightness
*Solution: physical therapy for pelvis & vagina to help with flexibility, soreness

Adjuvant chemotherapy : no significant side effects, some pain prevented by steroids
*Solution: steroids to prevent pain


Arielle Rosen

Primary Mediastinal (PMBCL)

Chemotherapy: (R-EPOCH dose-adjusted)

Side effects: nausea, fatigue, mouth sores, loss of appetite, stomach/digestive pain
*The biggest side effect: constipation

Solutions: Zofran for the nausea, Phillips "Milk of Magnesia" pill for the constipation, antacid for digestive pain (taken in morning on empty stomach for best results)