Managing Treatment Side Effects
This page was last updated 14 February 2010 at 02:14
All treatments for brain tumors have the potential for side effects. Because Chemotherapy and radiation canÂnot always be directed exclusively at the Tumor, they can potentially damage healthy as well as diseased tissues.
Radiation therapy is generally done on an outpatient basis with daily treatments. Patients are usually able to function at a normal level throughout the treatment, although some people may notice fatigue toward the end of the therapy. Radiation therapy may cause patchy hair loss and a dry scalp, and in some rare cases, a slight worsening of neurological problems.
Chemotherapy may cause Nausea and can be associated with fatigue, weight loss, skin changes, and increased risk of infection. Each drug has a particular profile of side effects that the oncologist will discuss with the patient. For instance, side effects of Temozolomide include nauÂsea, vomiting, headache, fatigue and constipation.
Fatigue is common following brain tumor treatment. The fatigue can be severe, and is often described as feelings of weakness, exhaustion, lack of energy, sleepiness, and confusion. Cancer fatigue may also affect how people think and make it hard to pay attention, read, or multiÂtask. Strategies, like taking short naps and identifying the time of day when energy levels are high, may help to cope with fatigue. The doctor or nurse may be able to suggest additional strategies to manage fatigue.
Currently, there are many drugs and therapies that can help alleviate the side effects of treatment. Patients should discuss with their doctors the different options for treating any side effects that arise.
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