Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system. Like other cancers, lymphoma can be treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy among with other methods like antibody treatment and even through bone marrow transplants. And just like any other type of cancer, there are some notable side effects of lymphoma treatments.
Treating cancer is rather toxic to the body. Cancer cells multiply in an abnormal rate. This rate of growth produces a mass of tissue which becomes a tumor. When left alone the cancer cells eventually suffocate the healthy cells nearby and shut down their functions. Whole organs can shut down completely which obviously means death to that person. Eradicating these cancer cells is the key element in cancer treatment procedures. However, the overall goal of cancer treatments is to destroy cancer cells without killing the normal and healthy cells nearby.
Chemotherapy is a common method of killing those cancer cells. This treatment uses various drugs to eliminate the cells. However, the drugs still affect some of the healthy cells. Among the more common side effects of the treatment in lymphoma patients includes decreased blood cell production, diarrhea, fatigue, mouth sores and hair loss. Decreased in blood production includes the normal red blood cells, the white blood cells and even the platelets. Some patients also reported feelings of nausea after the treatment. And because the drugs used for the treatment can also harm the production of sperm and egg cells, it is a medical fact that the treatment can indeed cause temporary or even permanent sterility of patients.
Instead of drugs, radiation therapy uses x-rays to kill the cells. But just like chemotherapy, the use of high energy x-rays can kill the neighboring healthy cells. Common side effects of this treatment include feeling tired all the time like all your energy was drained out of your body. Hair loss and nausea are also common problems when patients undergo radiation therapy. But hair loss is limited to areas where the treatment is actually targeted. Nausea and skin changes like getting red or itching are other known side effects.
Some treatments use steroids to control the growth of the cells. This is actually quite common and is used alongside other treatments. Steroids such as cortisone, prednisone and dexamethasone can cause insomnia, increased appetite, mood swings or changes and weight gain. The good thing about steroid treatment is that it is not used for long periods so the side effects are actually not strongly felt.
To counteract the side effects of lymphoma treatment, doctors suggests that you drink a lot of water before your treatment especially if you will undergo chemotherapy. If you experience mouth sores, a good way to provide some comfort is by drinking milk and cream. Juices especially tomato and citrus juices are not a good idea when you have numerous sores in your mouth. It has been suggested that you eat several small meal portions during the day instead of eating full size meals.
Remember that your immune system at this point is compromised because of your low blood count so it would be advisable to stay away from crowded areas and people that are sick. Ask your doctors for other ways to lessen the side effects.