Cancer Therapy Side Effects
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy damage a cell’s ability to grow, divide and copy itself.
As cancer cells multiply rapidly, they are highly susceptible to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, some healthy cells also divide and reproduce rapidly, and these can also be damaged, causing side effects.
Vulnerable cells include those found in bone marrow, hair follicles, the mouth, stomach, intestines, and skin.
Fortunately, normal cells recover quickly after treatment ends, so cancer therapy side effects are usually temporary.
Reading about side effects may be overwhelming, especially if your child has just been diagnosed with retinoblastoma. However, knowing the potential problems will empower you to take precautions and recognise symptoms early to help your child.
Though side effects are unpleasant, most are not serious, and will settle when treatment ends.
Children can have very different experiences with the same therapy. Some have few side effects and continue normal activities throughout treatment. For others, chemotherapy and radiotherapy is a miserable experience and the effect on their lives is considerable.
Always discuss your concerns promptly with your child’s doctors. The earlier side effects are identified, the faster you can all work together to ensure your child is comfortable and as well as possible throughout treatment.