Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Often 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.

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.


Drop in blood cells

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.**

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: 16/05/2019 | Next Review Due: 16/03/2018