Adjuvant chemotherapy is used for treatment after surgery to reduce the risk of cancer returning, and to kill cells that may have spread.
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is administered before surgery to shrink the size of the tumor thus making it easier to remove..
Chemotherapy administered prior to chemoradiation treatment is known as induction chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy can, however, cause several temporary side effects. Although these may be worse with combined radiation therapy, they generally disappear gradually after the treatment has ended.
The more common side effects are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sores (mucositis) in the mouth (resulting in problems swallowing and sensitivity in the mouth and throat), increased susceptibility to infection, anemia, hair loss, general fatigue, numbness in the hands and feet, hearing loss, kidney damage, bleeding problems, malaise, and balance problem. An oncologist and other medical specialist watch for and treat these side effects.
Bruising or bleeding
Nausea and vomiting can be treated by anti-nausea (anti-emetic) drugs. Regular mouthwashes can also help. These side effects can impact swallowing and nutrition. Accordingly, it is important to supplement one’s diet with nutritious drinks or soups. A dietitian's advice may be helpful to maintain adequate nutrition.