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Cancer Treatments

What are the side effects of Cancer treatment?

Constipation, delirium, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, are common problems for cancer patients. The growth and spread of cancer, and cancer treatment, contributes to these conditions.

Not all cancer patients will experience the same side effects. This information is only a partial list of the effects that some patients will experience.


Constipation is the slow movement of feces (stool or body wastes) through the large intestine resulting in infrequent bowel movements and the passage of dry, hard stools. The longer it takes for the stool to move through the large intestine, the more fluid is absorbed and the drier and harder the stool becomes.

Delirium is a malfunction of the brain. It has no specific cause. People experiencing delirium may be in and out of consciousness and often have problems with attention, thinking, perception, emotion, memory, muscle control, sleeping, and waking. Delirium often occurs during the last 24 to 48 hours of life.

Fatigue is extreme tiredness or exhaustion. Extreme usually occurs with people receiving treatment for their cancer.

Nausea and vomiting can be stimulated by various triggers, such as smell, taste, anxiety, pain, motion, changes in the body caused by inflammation, poor blood flow, or irritation.

Sleep disorders may be caused by physical illness, pain, treatment drugs, being in the hospital, and emotional stress. Cancer patients may experience an inability to fall asleep and stay asleep (insomnia); disorders of the sleep-wake cycle; disorders associated with sleep stages, or partial waking (parasomnia); and excessive sleepiness.

Mouth sores are a common side effect from chemotherapy.

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