The side effects of cancer

When we talk about the side effects of cancer we tend to think of the physical side effects of treatment of which there are plenty but there are other side effects of cancer as well.


Part of the difficulty in recovering from cancer is the emphasis of cancer and recovery is placed on the medical treatment and outcome. The side effects of cancer in other areas of life are not as readily acknowledged or supported. These side effects go on to impact relationships, friendships and the work place.


The time around diagnosis and treatment for cancer is often turbulent and the desire to survive will take over the need to address the side effects of cancer which may not become fully obvious at this time. Doctors are trained in the functionality of the body and because the emotional side effects of cancer are not life threatening the impact is not always addressed during medical appointments. However if the side effects of cancer aren’t addressed they remain causing side effects until they are.


I experienced many physical side effects of cancer and these included:

  • Medical menopause (including hay fever and asthma)

  • Osteoporosis

  • Stiff and sore joints

  • Scarring

  • A mouth so full of ulcers I couldn’t talk

  • Fatigue

  • Weight gain

  • Loss of fertility

  • Hair loss

The physical side effects of cancer impacted my emotions creating:

  • Anger

  • Depression

  • Fear