Do What You Can to Ease Side Effects of Treatment for Ewing Sarcoma
It's likely that you will have physical concerns since the cancer may cause symptoms and the treatment may cause side effects. In this section, you'll learn more about how to respond to some of the most common side effects and symptoms from treating Ewing sarcoma.
Here are some common side effects from treatment for Ewing sarcoma and how to ease them. You may not have all of these. We've listed them in alphabetical order so you can find help when you need it.
Anxiety and Depression
Many people may feel blue, anxious, or distressed after being told they have cancer. These feelings may continue or come back throughout treatment.
Taking these actions may ease your mental stress.
Certain chemotherapy drugs and radiation to the pelvis can damage the bladder. To prevent or minimize damage, you can take these steps.
Bleeding and Bruising
Certain kinds of chemotherapy may reduce your blood platelet count. Without enough platelets (thrombocytopenia), your blood may have trouble clotting. Even a minor injury may cause you to bleed or bruise.
If your doctor tells you that your platelet count is low, take these actions to avoid causing injuries that could lead to uncontrolled bleeding.
This may be a side effect of chemotherapy or changes in digestion after surgery. Diarrhea includes loose or frequent bowel movements, or both. It may lead to dehydration if you don't take these precautions. Many drugs can cause bowel changes.
Avoid milk and milk products if you already have diarrhea or if you are lactose-intolerant.
Avoid gas-producing vegetables, dried fruit, fiber cereals, seeds, popcorn, nuts, corn, and beans.
Eat low-residue, low-fiber foods, such as those included in the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast).
Drink more fluids, such as water and broth, to prevent dehydration.
Ask your doctor about medications that may help.
Dry or Irritated Skin
This may be a side effect of radiation therapy. To take care of your skin after treatment, follow these steps.
Ask your doctor or nurse what kind of lotion you can use to moisturize and soothe your skin. Don't use any lotion, soap, deodorant, sun block, cologne, cosmetics, or powder on your skin within two hours after treatment because they may cause irritation.
Losing your hair, called alopecia, can be upsetting because baldness is a visible reminder that you are being treated for Ewing sarcoma. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause hair loss. Keep in mind that your hair will probably grow back after treatment.
Try these coping tips.
Think about getting a wig, hat, or scarf before your hair loss starts. That way, you can get a wig that matches your hair and you'll be ready with head coverings, if you choose to wear them.
Certain chemotherapy drugs can damage the heart. To prevent or minimize damage, you can take these steps.
Your doctor will take blood samples from you for blood tests throughout your treatment. One thing he or she is checking for is your white blood cell count. Many types of chemotherapy can cause low white blood cell counts, as can the cancer itself. A lowered count is called neutropenia. Without enough white blood cells, your body may not be able to fight infection.
If your doctor tells you that your white blood cell count is low, take these actions to stay healthy.
Call your doctor right away if you have any of these signs of infection.
Mouth Sores (Mucositis)
Some types of chemotherapy may cause mouth sores. These may hurt and make eating an unpleasant experience.
To prevent sores in your mouth, take these actions.
To ease the pain if you get sores in your mouth, take these actions.
Nausea or Vomiting
Nausea or vomiting as a result of chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer may range from barely noticeable to severe. It may help you to understand the different types of nausea.
Anticipatory nausea and vomiting are learned from previous experiences with vomiting. As you prepare for the next dose of chemotherapy, you may anticipate that nausea and vomiting will occur as it did previously, which triggers the actual reflex.
To prevent nausea, take these actions. Most nausea can be prevented.
To help ease nausea or vomiting if you have it, try these tips.
Try eating foods and drinking beverages that were easy to take or made you feel better when you've had the flu or were nauseated. These might be bland foods, sour candy, dry crackers, ginger ale, flat soda, or others.
Problems with Thinking and Remembering
You may have mild problems with concentration and memory during and after chemotherapy or from radiation to the skull for tumors there. Being tired can make this worse.
Taking these actions may help.
Tiredness is a very common symptom and side effect from chemotherapy and radiation treatments. It is also a symptom of anemia, which is a low red blood cell count, as noted from blood tests. Whatever the cause, you may feel only slightly tired or you may suffer from extreme fatigue.
Fatigue can last several weeks after treatment ends. Taking these actions may help increase your energy level.
If your fatigue is severe or chronic, ask for help with routine tasks that can drain your energy, such as grocery shopping or housework. Some people reduce their hours at work.