Cancer Treatments
Side Effects of Treatment

Physicians try extremely hard to limit the effects of cancer treatments so only the cancer cells are removed or destroyed. However, due to the nature of these treatments, side effects may result from the destruction of healthy cells and tissues. Much depends on the extent of the cancer before treatment.

The surgical removal of a small tumor from you mouth may cause no lasting problems. However, if the tumor is large, extensive surgery may be needed to remove all or part of the tongue, jaw, or top of the mouth. If this is necessary, the patient may have trouble chewing, swallowing, talking, and might even look different.

Radiation therapy can make the patient's mouth very sore, making it hard to eat. It may even reduce the amount of saliva produced in the mouth, making it hard to chew or swallow.

Chemotherapy may involve the use of different drugs and the side effects may vary depending on which the patient is treated with. Because these drugs are not “local” treatments, they affect all cells which grow rapidly. This can include the blood cells that normally fight infection, cells lining the digestive tract, and hair follicles. Side effects of chemotherapy include: lower resistance to infection, appetite loss, vomiting, nausea, and mouth sores. A reduced energy level and hair loss may also occur.

Learn more about cancer treatments:

Don’t be Trippin’ — Stop Your Dippin’.