The treatment for ovarian cancer involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. Chemotherapy shows some short term and long term side effects. But some women have hardly any side effects.
[Read: What is Chemotherapy?]
Chemotherapy for ovarian cancer has several common side effects, regardless of the drug. It affects the immune system, often weakening it, so it is important for people undergoing chemotherapy to take care of their health and take proper precautions to reduce the risk of infection. The various side effects of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer are:
- Hair Loss- Hair loss from head, eye lashes and eyebrows is the most common side effect of chemotherapy. It is a short term disorder and the woman regains her hair within few weeks after the treatment.
- Bowel irregularities- Chemotherapy can cause women with ovarian cancer to have constipation and diarrhoea. It can be treated by taking a healthy and balanced diet and by regulating the rate of fiber intake. If constipated, increase the fiber content in food and if having diarrhea, decrease the fiber intake.
- Bleeding and anemia- Bleeding and easy bruising are the most common effects of ovarian cancer chemotherapy. Protecting yourself is the only preventive measure. Use of razors and tampons is strictly prohibited.
- Mouth sores- Mouth sores can develop as a result of chemotherapy. So avoid eating or drinking anything alcoholic, acidic or spicy. To heal the mouth sores always keep the mouth moist with water, have soft food and properly moisturize the lips.
- Feeling sick to your stomach- Feeling nausea and fatigue are the other side effects of chemotherapy. By proper medication and by having small and light meals these signs can be overcome easily.
[Read: Risks associated with Chemotherapy]
Long term side effects of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer include:
- Decrease in blood count, numbness and tingling.
- Nerve damage such as ringing in the ears, impaired memory, and hearing loss.
- Secondary cancer.
- Blood in urine.
Different chemotherapeutic drugs have varying side effects on the female body but reaction of any of these drug is different in each individual woman. Almost all side effects are short-term and they gradually disappear once the treatment stops. Some of them, such as menopause and infertility, can be permanent. It is advisable to consult your doctor for proper medication for the cure of these symptoms. A woman should be emotionally and mentally prepared before undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer treatment.
Read more articles on Ovarian Cancer.