Cochise Oncology

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How Does Chemotherapy Affect Your Body?

Each type of cancer responds best to different treatments. Many people will receive chemotherapy as part of their cancer treatment. It uses a range of chemical treatments that work by interrupting the growth of cancer cells or halting their spread. 

What is Chemotherapy? 

Alone or combined with other treatments like radiotherapy, chemotherapy is a mainstay of cancer treatment. It targets rapidly dividing cells by interfering with cells’ ability to make copies of themselves. While this affects cancer cells, it can also affect normal cells, causing many of chemotherapy’s effects on the body. 

Chemotherapy Sierra Vista, Tucson

How Does Chemotherapy Affect Your Body?

Chemotherapy can affect your body in many ways, depending on the type of treatment. Common areas affected include the digestive system, nervous system, and skin

How Chemotherapy Works

Chemotherapy uses chemicals that target different stages of cell division. Most of them interfere in some way with cancer cells when they try to copy their DNA, making them unable to replicate. While very effective against cancer, they also affect normal cells that divide quickly. 

Chemotherapy Effects

Chemotherapy side effects vary by type of chemotherapy. Many people experience digestive symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Other common problems include “brain fog,” memory and cognitive issues, and fatigue. Bruising and bleeding under the skin can occur, and some people have hair loss. 

Many symptoms are related to the effect of chemotherapy on fast-dividing cells. For example, cells in the digestive system reproduce very quickly, so chemotherapy can significantly affect them. Other fast-dividing cells that can be affected are your hair follicles, causing hair loss, and the cells in your bone marrow. 


Simply fill out the form on this page to request an appointment and one of our knowledgable team members will reach out to you. Or call our Sierra Vista oncology center to schedule directly at (520) 803-6644.

How Long Does Chemotherapy Last?

Chemotherapy can be administered in several ways, typically as a pill or an IV drip. Most people will receive chemotherapy in cycles that last two to six weeks. The break between cycles lets your body recover before the next treatment. You will usually continue with cycles of chemotherapy until the cancer is gone, the drug no longer works, or your body does not tolerate the treatment.

How Can I Reduce the Effects of Chemotherapy?

You can manage chemotherapy’s effects on your body in many ways. We recommend trying different strategies until you find the ones that help you. 

Digestive system issues may improve if you eat five or six small meals daily and avoid fatty or spicy foods. Many people deal with fatigue and brain fog with light physical activity and using schedules and lists. Reduce hair loss by using a soft-bristled brush and using only gentle products. 


*Individual Results May Vary


At Cochise Oncology, we know optimal cancer treatment places the patient first – and our patients experience this every day. Read what our satisfied patients are saying about their experiences at Cochise Oncology.

Take the Next Step

Do you have questions about chemotherapy? Reach out to Cochise Oncology at (520) 803-6644 or fill out the consultation form on this page.

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