What are the precautions of ascites
In contrast to radiation therapy, which only works locally ("on site"), chemotherapy affects the entire body. Chemotherapeutic agents (cytostatic agents) attack cells that are growing or dividing particularly quickly - a property that particularly applies to cancer cells. However, healthy body cells are also affected, which explains the side effects of chemotherapy.
The bone marrow, which is responsible for the formation of our blood cells, is particularly affected. These blood cells are white blood cells (leukocytes), red blood cells (erythrocytes) and platelets (thrombocytes). The leukocytes are important for our immune system. The erythrocytes carry the oxygen in our body and the platelets are important for our blood clotting.
Chemotherapy can impair the function of the bone marrow to such an extent that the formation of new blood cells is temporarily inhibited and, as a result, a shortage of blood cells occurs, which occurs between the 10th and 20th The day after chemotherapy is usually most pronounced. With a sharp drop in white blood cells, the risk of infection increases. However, by observing precautionary measures (rules of conduct), administering antibiotics and growth factors, the risk of infection can be minimized. If the number of leukocytes falls below 1000 / µl, hospitalization with isolation and, if necessary, intravenous administration of antibiotics may be necessary to reduce the risk of infection. If the red blood cells drop far, this is noticeable, for example, through a lower resilience. If the hemoglobin level of the erythrocytes also drops significantly, it may be necessary to administer blood reserves (erythrocyte concentrates). If the number of platelets is severely reduced (rare), a transfusion of platelets may be necessary to avoid an increased risk of bleeding.
The hair loss that occurs during chemotherapy is particularly (emotionally) stressful for many patients. This mainly affects the scalp hair, but it can also occur on all other parts of the body. Even before chemotherapy begins, patients receive a prescription for a wig. It is advisable to visit an appropriate specialist retailer before the first therapy in order to find an authentic wig for you. After completing the last chemotherapy, hair growth usually starts again relatively quickly. Slight changes in hair structure and color are possible.
Some cytotoxic drugs strongly irritate the vomiting center in the brain, which can lead to increased nausea. This side effect often occurs just a few days after chemotherapy. Fortunately, there are usually very effective medications that can curb these symptoms. Some of them are administered via infusion while the therapy is still ongoing. In addition, you will receive preventive tablets from us for the "critical" days after the therapy, so that pronounced nausea can often be avoided and food and fluid intake is still possible. If the tablets are not enough, please contact the doctor treating you in the oncological day clinic so that we can help you with the appropriate additional medication.
Chemotherapy occasionally affects the lining of the mouth. Dry mouth and sores can occur. Therefore, careful oral hygiene with soft toothbrushes is particularly important during chemotherapy. In addition to the mucous membranes of the mouth, the mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines can also be affected. Symptoms can range from a slight feeling of pressure in the stomach to severe diarrhea.
Other possible side effects of chemotherapy are changes in the sense of smell and taste, which normalize quickly after the therapy is completed.
In addition to tumor cells, some cytostatics also attack the nervous system. This can lead to discomfort in the hands and feet and impaired fine motor skills. In addition, a temporary difficulty concentrating can occur. Overall, this damage usually regresses completely within the next few weeks and months, although permanent impairment (e.g. fine motor skills) is possible in individual cases.
The rarer side effects of chemotherapy affect the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver and almost always regress after the end of therapy. However, if there are side effects on these organ systems, depending on the severity of the symptoms / symptoms, the dose of the therapy may have to be adjusted, the cytostatic agent changed or the therapy even discontinued.
Before every chemotherapy, we recommend a heart ultrasound in order to determine a possible heart disease and lack of resilience of the heart and to avoid far-reaching side effects.
If you notice any side effects, especially if you feel affected by them, please contact us. We are happy to assist you with words and deeds and strive to make this path easier for you as far as we can.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in our oncological day clinic (Tel .: 06032 702-2218) and at other times via our station G1 (Tel .: 06032 702-2300).
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