Treatment Side Effects

Cancer treatments can bring a variety of side effects. While it is important to discuss your treatment options and any side effects you experience with your health care provider, we also want to help. The resources below provide information about different treatment options, as well as methods to deal with side effects.

Treatment Preparation and Information

Preparing for Treatment

Common Treatment Side Effects


Possible side effects of surgery include:

  • Scarring
  • Limited mobility
  • Inability to do some activities on a temporary or long-term basis
  • Changes in sexual function or fertility
  • Changes in ability to judge, learn or remember (such as after brain surgery)
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling or lymphedema


Possible side effects of chemotherapy:

  • Anemia
  • Decreased immunity
  • Fatigue
  • Mouth sores
  • Forgetfulness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Skin rashes
  • Bruising and bleeding
  • Cataracts
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Forgetfullness

Radiation Therapy

Possible side effects of radiation therapy:

  • Hair loss and changes to hair
  • Earaches
  • Redness and irritation in the mouth
  • Dry mouth, trouble swallowing or changes in taste
  • Changes to teeth, gums, mouth or throat
  • Bone growth changes in children who are still developing
  • Dry, irritated or reddened skin
  • Nausea, vomiting or bowel changes
  • Eating and digestive problems
  • Irritation of the bladder
  • Effects on fertility or sexual functioning
  • Breast size changes
  • Lung fibrosis (stiffening or scarring)
  • Osteoporosis or bone loss
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Swelling and soreness
  • Cough or shortness of breath
  • Low white blood cell counts or low levels of platelets (rare)
  • Emotional effects

Hormone Therapy

Do you have a story or advice you'd like to share about your experience with cancer treatment and its side effects? You can send us your thoughts by contacting our Content Manager Victoria at We'd love to hear from you!