The side effects of aggressive lung cancer treatment can often be worse than the illness itself. The response of each person also depends on the type of treatment given and is very often different for each individual.
Side effects are usually only temporary, and the best way of dealing with them is to treat the symptoms as they occur.
Surgery Related Side Effects
Surgery for lung cancer is a major process and problems include
- Air and fluid collecting in the chest. Patients usually need help coughing, breathing deeply and turning themselves over to drain their chest.
- Pain and weakness in the chest, side and arm (On the affected side)
- Shortness of breath
- Patients usually need several weeks or months to get back to their usual strength and fitness levels. (Very often this is never achieved).
Side Effects of Chemotherapy
The problem with Chemotherapy is it affects normal cells as well as the cancerous cells. The side effects of chemotherapy depend largely on specific drugs and the amount of drug given.
Common side effects of chemotherapy are
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
Radiation Therapy Related Side Effects
Radiation therapy is similar to chemotherapy inasmuch that it affects normal as well as the cancerous cells. So the side effects of radiation treatment depend mainly on the part of the body treated and also the treatment dose administered.
Common side effects of radiation treatment are
- Dry, sore throat
- Difficulty swallowingFatigue
- Skin changes at the site of treatment
- Loss of appetite.
- Side effects for patients receiving radiation to the brain include
- Skin changes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hair loss
- Problems with memory and thought processes.
Photodynamic therapy has the following common side effects in those treated.
- Trouble swallowing
- Painful breathing or shortness of breath.
- From time to time the skin may become blistered, red, or swollen.
- The skin and eyes become sensitive to light for six weeks or more.
- If patients go outdoors, they must wear protective clothing, including sunglasses.