After Effects of Cancer Treatment

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Aug 23, 2012

The cancer treatment sessions might have ended, but the treatment that gave you a new life may continue to cause problems. After-effects of cancer treatment are usually classified as long-term and late effects, which may vary from mild to serious. Side-effects of cancer may vary from one survivor to another. Treatment can help you manage after effect symptoms to live a happy life, but it cannot be predicted whether these will occur or how long it will be troubling you.

Long-term effects of cancer treatment – These effects usually develop immediately after a treatment and linger on. The common long-term effects of cancer treatment include anaemia, fatigue and anxiety. Cancer survivors may also experience permanent long-term effects such as limb loss and nerve damage.

Late effects of cancer treatment – These are the delayed effects that become evident after months to years after treatment. These effects are easy to treat, as earliest they are identified. Lymphedema (swelling in a limb due to blocked lymph nodes), heart disease, lung disease, osteoporosis, recurring cancer and depression are some of the late effects of cancer treatment.

Late effects on the basis of treatment type


  1. Chemotherapy – Heart problems, infertility, liver problems, lung disease, depleted lung capacity, cataracts, early menopause, osteoporosis and increased risk of other cancers.
  2. Radiation therapy Heart problems, intestinal problems, memory problems, cataracts, infertility, lung disease, cavities, tooth decay, osteoporosis, increased risk of other cancers and hypothyroidism.
  3. Surgery – Lymphedema

Emotional After Effects of Cancer Treatment

Some cancer survivors continue to have strong emotions about their cancer experience and remain upbeat after treatment, while other may experience fluctuating emotions. The possible emotional after-effects of cancer treatment include anger, fear, concerns about relationships, depression, anxiety, concerns about fatigue and apprehensions about body image.

Even after returning to routine activities or work, cancer patients may continue to have general feeling of unhappiness or uneasiness. They may feel difficult to concentrate or focus on their work. Emotional disturbance of patients affect people around them and relationships may suffer.

Learning about the cancer treatment after effects may make you uncomfortable. However, learning about the possible after effects prepares to watch for it. Knowing about side-effects of cancer treatment also helps in reporting the symptoms to physician during follow-up session and minimise complications. Early medical attention to the after effects helps in minimising problems for a patient.

Read Managaging Chemotherapy Side-effects

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