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Common Side Effects of Chemo Drugs Used in Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer Patient

About me

Hello everyone! I’m Dang.

 Thank you for dropping by.  Welcome to my humble zone.

I’m a breast cancer patient fighting for my rights to live. I created gonaturalway.com to show that BIG C is not the end of the world. But a beginning of a fight and a new life. I encourage those who are at the same shoes to fight even if you feel exhausted, even your wallet was drained. That, there are reason to fight back and a reason not to give up. Cheers!

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Introduction:

In the United States statistics, Breast cancer is the second most common cause of death among women, after lung cancer. However, it was decreased by 40% because of early detection and treatment improvements. Thanks to science for the discovery of breast cancer treatment to save many women.

I’m a breast cancer patient. I consulted several doctors and homeopathic practitioner for my treatment. Aside from that, I asked several friends who had experienced chemotherapy.

That is why I’m afraid to try it because of side effects, and knowing some cases of a patient who died after or during this session that much terrifies me.

But, after realizing that the tumor cannot be removed by homeopathic therapy, I finally convinced myself to be brave and face chemotherapy to be able to survive.

Why I changed my approach to surviving against cancer? You can view it here.

I want you to feel what I felt during and after my chemo session, so that you may be aware of what to face when you decide to choose chemotherapy. I remember someone told me that he knew what I feel. His mother is a cancer survivor. I disagree with him. Because no one can understand the feeling unless you are in the same situation. So, I encourage you, to go ahead read this blog because I will describe to you how it feels while in the chemotherapy session and its side effect. (at least you have the overview of the pain)

What are the drugs used for my Chemotherapy?

  1. Doxil ( Doxorubicin)  

Class: Anthracycline chemotherapy- It kills cancer cells by interfering with their production and damaging their genes. 

*Usually given intravenously with other chemotherapy drugs before surgery to shrink a large tumor or advanced-stage breast cancer

   Side effects– toxic effect on the heart.

2.Taxotere ( Docetaxel)

Class: Taxane Chemotherapy- hamper the ability of cancer cells to divide or multiply

              *Given intravenously to treat advanced-stage breast cancer that has spread to other areas of the breast.

              *Kills breast cancer that Isn’t responding to doxorubicin.

              *Targeting cancer cells that have spread to the lymph nodes

The main ingredient of Taxotere is Paclitaxel that difficult to dissolve. Therefore, Taxotere needs to use a solvent to enter the bloodstream. To minimized the reaction to the solvent, premedication should be given.

3. Cytoxan ( Cyclophosphamide)

Class: Alkylating agent Chemotherapy. It acts as a destroyer of cancer cells and weakens its genetic material.

  • Given intravenously to shrink large lump and advance stage of breast cancer
  • Reduce the risk of early breast cancer stage from recurrence

4. Herceptin (Trastuzumab): for the treatment of an advanced stage of cancer that is Her2 positive.

       *stop cancer from growing and treat metastatic cancer to prevent it from coming back.

After I realized that the cancer cells changed from HER2 negative to HER2 Positive, urgently we added Herceptin for my treatment.

                     (To know if holistic healing can help click here)

What are the side effects of Chemotherapy that I experienced?

     1. Vomiting, Nausea and stomach ache and diarrhea

This is the most unforgettable pain I experienced after the chemo session. After eating little food, my stomach crumbled. An excruciating stomach ache follows. Just after my food intake, I throw it out and I need to go to the comfort room because of diarrhea. This pain is unbearable to me. Maybe because my pain tolerance is low but I’m thinking that it would be my end. I never encountered that pain before, even when my times of giving birth normally. This is different.

This is a cause of thinning the stomach cell wall. The chemo drugs destroy the wall that protects the lining of the stomach from hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is a concentrated acid that helps the stomach to digest our food. If the wall lining was destroyed, we can feel the acid in our stomach that causes stomach ache and vomiting. 

common side effects of chemo drugs
common side effects of chemo drugs

                                                  

2. Loss of hair all over the body.

The most common side effect of chemotherapy is hair loss all over the body. The most obvious one is your crowning beauty. I already knew it was going to happen, so I prepared myself going to be bald. I bought a wig and some headdress to cover my head.

A wig is not advisable for me to use, because it makes my head irritable and heavy. So I prefer to use turbans and scarves whenever I go out.

You can choose from several modest scarfs and fashionable headdress that can satisfy your fashion.                                   

loss of hair as a side effect of chemo drugs
loss of hair as side effects of chemo drugs

3. Dropping down of white blood cells that can lead to infection

White blood cell is one important part of the immune system. It helps fight infections by attacking bacteria, viruses, and germs that invade the body. It was produced by bone marrow and circulate throughout the bloodstream.

Chemo drugs destroyed the white blood cells in chemotherapy. It is necessary to be careful not to catch cough, colds, or any other respiratory ailments. Cancer is not a disease that will kill you rapidly, it is the side effect of chemo drugs like pneumonia that can be threatening to your health. I know some patient that dies because of pneumonia which is the side effect of the side effect of chemotherapy.

4. Changes in nail and skin color

At first, I was scared about turning my nails into black color. I’m thinking that it will be a dead nails overtime. If you will encounter this in your chemo session, don’t worry about it. This is just a color and eventually return to its normal color once the chemo drugs fade. The skin may turn yellowish and dry, but this is just temporary. 

5. Changes of Appetite and presence of sores in mouth, tongue, throat

After my chemo session, my appetite was lost and can’t eat even my favorite food. This is because of chemo drugs that destroy the cells in my tongue. And I found difficulty in swallowing the food because of the sores in my mouth down to my throat.

6. Chemo Brain

Chemo brain is sometimes called Chemo fog, wherein some cancer patient is encountering difficulties in thinking and having a memory problem. It occurs during or after treatment and affects the cognitive function of a patient.

7. Low in libido and sexual function

Some chemo drugs also affect the production of testosterone in the body. Testosterone is a hormone that maintains the sex drive, sperm count, bone, hair, and muscles. It means that you can experience difficulty achieving an erection and your desire in sex can be decreased.

low in libido or sex drive
low in libido or sex drive

8. Fertility Problems

There is temporary menopause that can occur brought by chemotherapy. Your menstrual periods may stop and can take a few months to a year to return. The egg in the ovaries can be immature because of chemo drugs that may cause difficulties in having pregnant.

( For more side effects of chemo therapy click here)

Conclusion:

Side effects of chemotherapy vary from what kind of chemo drugs used. As of mine, as a breast cancer patient, it was an unforgettable and painful experience. Thinking of unable to survive in the side effects of chemotherapy gives me so much fear and anxiety. But, as a mother, I am designed to be a fighter. To endure pain is my crucial job for being a cancer survivor 

After a month of my last session of chemotherapy, the hair and the nails are growing slowly. It means that chemo drugs faded already. I’m certain that I reduce the danger of cancer cells and time to face the new phase of treatment.

See you at my other write-ups!

More to read: Is Apricot bitter kernels can help treat the cancer? find out here

2 replies on “Common Side Effects of Chemo Drugs Used in Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer Patient”

This is very informative. We should take care of ourselves. If there’s a history of anyone in the family, we should be more careful on our diets and a frequent check up.

Thank you for dropping by. I hope to see you on my other blogs.
Keep safe and healthy!

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