Cochise Oncology

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What are the Side Effects of Chemotherapy?

Treating cancer requires oncologists (cancer specialists) to use all the available tools to give you the best results. Chemotherapy fights cancer in several different ways. While it unquestionably saves lives, chemotherapy also has some side effects. With your doctor’s help, you can manage these side effects and complete your treatment successfully. 

What is Chemotherapy? 

Chemotherapy uses a variety of medications to treat cancer. Chemotherapy works by targeting the rapid growth of cancer cells. Your oncologist will choose chemotherapy agents most likely to work against a particular type of cancer. Extensive research has made chemotherapy drugs more effective but cannot eliminate the side effects. 

Chemotherapy Tucson

What are the Side Effects of Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy works because it targets cells that divide quickly. This can stop the growth of cancer cells. It also affects other fast-dividing cells like those in your skin and digestive system. If you have concerns about the side effects of chemotherapy, talk to your doctor. Your Cochise Oncology team will be with you throughout treatment to help you manage side effects. These can include:

  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Digestive issues
  • Nausea and loss of appetite
  • Rashes
  • A weakened immune system

These side effects will usually go away when you finish your chemotherapy treatment. Newer chemotherapy agents can cause less severe side effects than older ones. 

How Does Chemotherapy Work?

Chemotherapy agents use various methods to disrupt cancer cells. One agent may work better against a specific type of cancer. These include:

Alkylating Agents

These drugs damage the DNA of cancer cells, so they cannot make new cells. They are effective against many types of cancer. 


These drugs interrupt the natural metabolic functions of the cancer cells. They become unable to produce energy to make new cells. 

Antitumor Antibiotics

These antibiotics have been isolated from bacteria. They change the DNA of cancer cells so they cannot copy themselves. 

Your chemotherapy may be administered in one of several forms. These can include an IV, an oral medication, or another delivery method. 


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 Can I Manage Chemotherapy Side Effects?

While chemotherapy has side effects, we can help you manage them so you can continue your life as much as possible. Tips for dealing with chemotherapy side effects:

  • Eat five or six small meals a day
  • Avoid fatty or sweet meals that can cause nausea
  • Take short naps or ask for help if you feel fatigued
  • If you experience “brain fog,” try using a planner
  • Make sure to tell your doctor if you have any signs of an infection

Not all chemotherapy drugs cause the same symptoms. For example, not all chemotherapy agents will cause hair loss which many people associate with this treatment. Fortunately, you will eventually finish chemotherapy, and these side effects will fade. 


*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) 335-9460 or fill out the consultation form on this page.

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