One of the main improvements in chemotherapy administration over the years has been the fact that there are many fewer side effects. For one thing, the chemotherapy drugs themselves have less toxicity. In addition, the drugs we use to prevent most common side effects, such as nausea, have improved considerably. Most of our patients feel well during and after their treatments. In fact, most patients are able to drive themselves to and from treatment without any difficulty.
Although we have made a lot of improvements in controlling the side effects of treatment, and many of our chemotherapy drugs do not cause hair loss, still a few of them do. If you are receiving one of these drugs, we will tell you immediately to allow you the opportunity to find hairpieces and wigs to your satisfaction. The good news if that hair loss is definitely temporary. Within several weeks of completion of chemotherapy there is complete hair regrowth in all cases.
Although we have been able to do a lot to control some of the more difficult side effects of chemotherapy, virtually everyone who takes treatment does experience some degree of weakness and fatigue. If you have a job that does not require great amounts of physical effort or exposure to extremes of temperature, it is possible that you will be able to work. Certainly if your employer will work with you to offer flexible hours, the chance of being able to work wile on treatment is even more likely. When your doctor has made specific recommendations to you about your chemotherapy, he can give you his best idea about whether or not you will be able to continue to work while on treatment.
Although most of our patients receive medications to prevent side effects, virtually none of these medications cause excessive sedation. For this reason, if you are driving prior to chemotherapy, you should be able to drive to and from our office while on treatment.
Our office has a physician on call 24 hours a day. In fact, we would like you to call our doctor on call before you go the emergency room. Frequently one of our doctors can make the recommendations to you which may save you the expense and effort of a trip to the ER. We consider the following problems to be emergencies, and if you develop any of these we would like to hear from you at any time day or night: