Possible Side Effects of Chemotherapy Everyone Should Know

Learn more about the possible negative consequences of chemotherapy and how to avoid them.

Written by: Shivangi Sarkar Updated at: 2023-01-15 15:30

Chemotherapy drugs are known to have side effects, and many of them can be rather serious. Some of the most common side effects of chemotherapy are nausea, fatigue, hair loss, and vomiting. In fact, these side effects are so common that most people never even notice them. If left untreated, these side effects may get worse over time, which is why it’s important to know about them before going in for chemo.

Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Here are some of the possible negative consequences of chemotherapy:


Fatigue is a common side effect of chemotherapy. This is because cancer cells are unable to break down simple nutrients like sugar, so they need more energy to survive. Fatigue is a result of this energy deficit, as well as the fact that cancer cells need to make more insulin to handle the extra glucose. 

Also Read: Is Targeted Therapy Better Than Chemotherapy?

The good news is that fatigue is treatable. Many of the medications used for fatigue, like biguanides and antidepressants, are classed as drugs that may have negative side effects. However, if you notice your fatigue getting worse while you’re on treatment, it’s important to speak to your doctor. They may want to monitor you closely while you’re on the medications and change your dosage if necessary.

Changes in Weight and Energy Levels

One of the most common side effects of cancer treatment is changes in your weight and energy levels. This is because the body often has to deal with a significant loss of fluids, as well as important nutrients, while being treated for cancer. 

Weight loss is often a result of nausea and vomiting, as well as a drop in your intake of certain foods that help your body break down protein. People who have had abdominal or pancreatic cancer are at an increased risk of developing diabetes, so it’s important to keep an eye out for diabetes if you start to gain weight. 

Sleep Problems

Getting enough sleep is crucial to good health, and can actually help you fight cancer. Lack of sleep can be caused by issues such as anaemia, stress, depression, and sleep disorders. Unfortunately, getting enough sleep can be quite challenging during chemotherapy. 

Also Read: Radiotherapy Vs Chemotherapy: Understand The Difference And Side Effects

If you’re struggling to get enough sleep, you may feel weird and/or jittery. When you get less sleep, it causes your body to produce more cortisol, which can cause you to gain weight. The best way to prevent this is to get at least 6 hours of sleep every night. 

Food Cravings 

One of the side effects of cancer treatment is cravings. This is because your body is trying to get back to normal, and it needs certain nutrients and medications to do so. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t recognize these nutrients and medications as food, so it starts to crave them. 

If you’re craving food that has a lot of calories (i.e. high-fat foods), you should consider having a light snack rather than eating the whole thing by hand. Another way to deal with cravings is to schedule them into your day. 


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