A lot of questions come with a cancer diagnosis, including what to expect during treatment. Our oncology experts are here to help you navigate the unknown so you can focus on recovery.
Beyond the mental and emotional effects of a cancer diagnosis, patients might be wondering if they’ll lose their hair or experience nausea and vomiting, perhaps the most known side effects of treatment. We asked Christina Alsop, APRN with Renown Medical Group – Oncology/Hematology, to explain the common symptoms of cancer treatment and how to manage them.
What are some common side effects of cancer treatment?
All cancer treatments come with side effects, which will vary depending on which treatment you receive. Together, you and your medical oncologist will decide on the best options based on your current health status. Keep track of what you may be experiencing and share it with your care team, so they can better help you manage any side effects.
Some side-effects of cancer treatment may iinclude:
- Changes in mood/thinking
- Eating problems
- Fertility and sexual side effects
- Hair loss
- Leg cramps
- Low blood counts
- Mouth problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Shortness of breath
- Skin problems
- Sleep problems
- Stool or urine changes
What is the goal of cancer symptom management?
The goal of symptom management is to prevent or treat, as early as possible, the side effects caused by treatment, as well as any psychological, social and spiritual difficulties related to treatment. This is also known as comfort or supportive care.
What services and support does a care provider in medical oncology provide to patients?
Comprehensive cancer care is our approach at Renown Institute for Cancer and the standard approach at all major medical centers that treat cancer. One of the major qualifications for a comprehensive cancer center is having oncology experts who come together to make patient care the top priority.
As an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in oncology, I help to improve outcomes for patients with cancer and their families by increasing healthcare access, improving patients’ quality of life, documenting patient outcomes and increasing the cost-effectiveness of care. I look after your cancer but also your needs, including the management of any side effects from treatment. Often, palliative care is initiated to ease pain, discomfort and assist patients in having the best quality of life while undergoing treatment.
What other services are available for someone with a cancer diagnosis?
Once you begin your treatment, a range of support staff is available to assist you throughout your diagnosis. Registered nurse navigators, social workers, financial counselors and others will be available to help you address everything that comes up during this time.
Renown also offers support groups, which provide a safe space to share experiences, hardships or concerns with others. Some of these support groups are also offered online, allowing you to gain support from the comfort of your home.
Getting a cancer diagnosis can be a very scary moment in your life. Do not be afraid to seek help and assistance from support staff throughout your treatment journey.
To learn more about the Renown Institute for Cancer, visit renown.org/cancer or call 775-982-4000.