Side Effects of Chemotherapy

sign post to OncologyOften people can carry on many of their day-to-day activities while having chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, but sometimes drugs can cause side effects. The side effects of chemotherapy will vary from person to person and will depend on the type of drug(s) you are taking.

Many chemotherapy drugs will cause the number of blood cells produced by your bone marrow to drop. This usually begins around 7 days after you commence each treatment and can return to normal levels about three to four weeks after treatment. Your doctors will be regularly checking your blood to monitor your blood counts while you are undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

The drop in blood cells can lead to the following side effects:

Infections can be serious. Let your doctor or nurse know immediately if you think you may have an infection.


Depending on the drugs you are taking, other general side effects can include:

Side effects are mostly temporary and often steps can be taken to prevent or reduce them. Speak to your medical team if you are concerned about any side effects you may be having.

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Blood Clots:

Cancer can increase your risk of developing thrombosis (a blood clot), and having chemotherapy also increases this risk. Blood clots can be very serious so it is important to tell your doctor straight away if you have pain, redness and swelling in a leg, or breathlessness and chest pain.

However, most clots can usually be successfully treated with drugs to thin the blood. Speak to your doctor or nurse for more information.

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Information Product No. PCA0031 v1 | Published: 16/03/2015 | Last Updated: 14/07/2017 | Next Review Due: 16/03/2018