Physical impacts of cancer and it’s treatment?
Cancer is a disease caused by an uncontrollable division of abnormal cells in a part of a body. Cancer is a chronic disease which means it is comparatively much more difficult to cure. The treatment process for cancer includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy which is extremely exhausting for the body and tends to take a toll on the physical attributes of the body aside from the already existing mental stress that is caused to the patient.
The side effects that I have noticed and are experienced vary depending upon the type of cancer, individual body traits, treatment, etc. Some of these stay for a shorter period as compared to the other. Let me give you a brief on some of these:
Fatigue– this is a feeling of extreme tiredness felt from mental or physical exertion or an illness. This is extremely common among cancer patients.
Treatment: Relaxation skills, regular excercise and strategies to preserve energy are to be practiced.
Loss of appetite– cancer treatments can make food less appealing and give a feeling of nausea or vomiting. Keeping this in check is necessary so that severe dehydration or underweight issues are not experienced.
Treatment: Give the patients 6-8 small meals daily, particularly including starchy food.
Skin Problems-the various and rigorous cancer treatments can cause skin to get very dry, itchy, peeling or red.
Treatment: Steps like applying lotion regularly and skin protection and care may help.
Peripheral Neuropathy– chemotherapy, radiation or surgery can damage the nerves that transmit messages to and from the brain and spinal cord.
Treatment: Doctors need to carefully monitor the treatment to lessen the nerve damage and they can help manage the symptoms as well, if any.
Organ Damage– generally cancer treatments can lead to organ damage, sometimes maybe even years after recovery.
Treatment: Proper nutrition and exercise is to be followed, and smoking and alcohol is to be avoided.
Infection– Chemotherapy can deplete the infection fighting white blood cells, leaving one vulnerable to infection.
Treatment: Handwashing, staying clean and being extra careful about food safety are some preventive measures.
Heart Issues– Chemotherapy and radiation to the chest can damage the heart and blood vessels.
Treatment: Healthy diet, weight loss, exercise, medications and other steps.
Hence, the post cancer treatment is the most important stage as additional care is required for the body. I would highly encourage every individual to have proper nutrition and care during this time to decrease the problems a patient might face in the later stages of his/her life.