Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest types of cancer in women with high mortality rate. The signs and symptoms are most of the times subtle and difficult to detect. The various treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, can affect the patient physically, psychologically and emotionally. Chemotherapy destroys the affected cancer cells present in the body, and at the same time, also destroys many of the body’s cells which are otherwise healthy, and helps in staying stronger. While undergoing treatment, the patient is also given some medications for managing these side effects and keeping them in control.
Let Us Have A Look At Some Of The Side Effects That Can Be Expected While Undergoing Treatments Like Chemotherapy:
Anxiety or depression are very common in women undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer. The pain and health issues associated with it keeps the patient depressed. Sometimes, the patients even lose confidence in the treatment due to poor prognosis. A patient who is all aware somewhere knows that the chances of survival are not always satisfying.
High doses of different medications, treatments and therapies may interfere with the digestive system and slow down the bowel movement. There may also be a restriction on the intake of certain types of food that induces bowel movement. Therefore, patient should go for food that are rich in dietary fiber and use laxatives and other stool softners, as recommended by the doctor.
Intake of different types of antibiotics and steroids while undergoing surgery, or treatments like chemotherapy and radiation may cause diarrhea or loose stools. At this time, it is important to drink lots of fluids but avoid caffeine. Insoluble fiber may worsen the situation, and hence they should be avoided. It is very important to follow the diet given by the nutritionist strictly, in order to avoid more discomfort and complications.
Fatigue and tiredness are obvious with any type of cancer. This is because the medications and therapies used to destroy the cancer cells are way more stronger than ailments for non-cancer medical conditions and diseases. The fatigue is often physical well as mental and emotional.
Treatment like chemotherapy interferes with the production of Red Blood cells(RBC) in the none marrow. The lower RBC count makes it difficult for blood to provide sufficient supply of oxygen to different parts of the body. A balanced diet prescribed by the nutritionist needs to be followed. Moreover, the patient needs plenty of rest to fight the disease and the side effects of its treatment.
6. Low Sex Drive
Decrease is libido is not unusual, especially when the patient is going a lot of physical and emotional ups and downs. Moreover, a lot of hormonal changes also takes place which is similar to menopause in many ways. This phase is also called treatment-induced menopause. The patient and her partner should understand that this is temporary and things will be back to normal once the recovery is complete.
Infertility is a major concern for a patient undergoing ovarian cancer treatment. Since eggs are produced in the ovaries, removal of one ovary may still leave the chance of getting pregnant, if the other ovary keeps producing good eggs. Treatment like chemotherapy may sometimes interfere with the ovulation process. In both the cases, the patient may conceive through IVF or In vitro fertilization through a donor egg. Many women nowadays, reserve their eggs before undergoing cancer treatment.
8. Soreness In Mouth, Throat Or Salivary Glands
Radiation and chemotherapy may harm the cells in the mouth, throat, or salivary glands and the lips. Some biological therapies for cancer treatment may also result in severe oral complications. Dryness of the mouth, pain, difficulty in swallowing, cavities, sensitivity to good temperature and change in taste are some of the most common mouth problems experienced by cancer patients.
9. Hair Loss
It is the most common side effect of chemotherapy, be it ovarian or any type of cancer. Chemotherapy is a very strong mediction that attacks and destroys the cancel cells. However, when it is induced, it affects other cells of the body along with the cancer cells. The cells which houses the roots of our hair are also affected in this process, which results in hair fall. So, if anyone is undergoing chemotherapy, hair loss is obvious. The good thing is that most of the times, the loss is temporary.
The tumors in the ovaries cause pain to the nearby organ tissues and muscles, nerves, bones or any other areas in the pelvis. The pain also depends on the severity of the disease, which means, the more widely spread the disease, the more is the pain. The various treatments in the form of radiation and chemotherapy are also harsh on the body and leaves a strong burning sensation and pain on the whole body. Sores are also formed due to these strong therapies. An ovarian cancer also requires surgery which has its own pain.
When chemotherapy is induced on a patient suffering from ovarian cancer, it attempts to destroy the cancer cells present in the body. In this process, many healthy cells in the body are also destroyed. The White Blood cells or leucocytes present in our body is one of them. White Blood cells are important to our immune system that protects our germs and diseases as well as other foreign bodies. Therefore, when White Blood cells are affected, the ability of our body to fight against infection diminishes.
12. Muscle Tone And Weight Loss
The patient undergoing ovarian cancer treatment suffers from weight loss, most of the times. As a side effect of the treatments for it like chemotherapy and radiation, the patient loses muscle tone and weight. Digestion problems and loss of appetite during the treatment is very common. This results in considerable amount if weight loss. The patient should eat properly as per the doctor’s instruction, along with a lot of fluids, which will provide strength to the body.
13. Poor Thyroid Function
The thyroid gland which is responsible for maintaining hormonal balance in the body. Treatments like radiation disrupt the functioning of the thyroid. This may give rise to a lot of other medical issues like poor metabolism, dryness in skin or hair, difficulty in weight management, etc.