Colon Cancer Home > Colon Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Colon cancer treatment side effects vary depending on the type and extent of the treatment. Pain is a common side effect of colon cancer surgery. If chemotherapy is used to treat colon cancer, side effects may include an increased risk for infections, hair loss, fatigue, and mouth or lip sores. When radiation therapy is used as colon cancer treatment, side effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody stools.
Because treatment for cancer often damages healthy cells and tissues, unwanted side effects are common. Colon cancer treatment side effects depend mainly on the type and extent of the treatment. The side effects may not be the same for each person, and they may change from one treatment session to the next. Before treatment starts, the healthcare team will explain possible colon cancer treatment side effects and suggest ways to help the patient manage them.
It takes time to heal after surgery, and the time needed to recover is different for each person. Patients are often uncomfortable during the first few days after surgery. However, medicine can usually control their pain. Before surgery, patients should discuss the plan for pain relief with their doctor or nurse. After surgery, the doctor can adjust the plan if more pain relief is needed.
It is common to feel tired or weak for a while after surgery. Also, surgery sometimes causes constipation or diarrhea. The healthcare team will monitor the patient for signs of bleeding, infection, or other problems requiring immediate treatment.
People who have a colostomy may have irritation of the skin around the stoma. The doctor, nurse, or enterostomal therapist can teach patients how to clean the area and prevent irritation and infection.