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Before Colon Cancer Treatment Begins

When you first heard about your colon cancer diagnosis, your healthcare provider most likely discussed a treatment plan with you. This may have involved surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or some combination of these.
 
All of these colon cancer treatments kill cells. In the process of killing the cancer cells, however, some healthy cells are also damaged. That is what causes the side effects of cancer treatment. Side effects that can affect your ability to eat include:
 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in weight (either losing or gaining weight)
  • Sore mouth or throat
  • Dry mouth
  • Dental and gum problems
  • Changes in sense of taste or smell
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue and/or depression.
     
You may or may not experience any of these side effects. Many factors determine whether you will have any adverse reactions and how severe they will be. These factors include the:
 
  • Part of your body being treated
  • Type and length of treatment
  • Dose of treatment.
     
The good news is that if you do have side effects, they can often be controlled. Most also go away after treatment for colon cancer ends. Your doctor or nurse can tell you more about your chances of having side effects and what they might be like.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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