Pancreatic cancer treatments can cause a range of side effects. But communicating with your healthcare team and receiving supportive (palliative) care can help lessen their impact.
Before you begin treatment, talk to your healthcare team about potential side effects to know what to watch for. And if you start to experience any side effects, update your healthcare team immediately and bring up supportive care.
Here is a list of common pancreatic cancer treatment side effects to be aware of.
1. Stool Changes
Treatments can cause digestive problems, like constipation or diarrhea.
Fatigue is an extreme lack of energy. More than half of pancreatic cancer patients experience some sort of cancer-related fatigue, which can vary from person to person.
3. Nausea and Vomiting
Some patients experience nausea and vomiting after certain treatments, like chemotherapy. Sometimes these side effects occur right after treatment, and sometimes they happen several days later.
Neuropathy is a condition that can cause numbness, tingling or burning in the hands or feet, numbness around the mouth, loss of sensation to touch and constipation. Certain chemotherapy medicines can damage a patient’s peripheral nerves, which causes the neuropathy.
5. Mouth Sores
Some treatments can cause mouth sores. These generally appear a few days after treatment and produce burn-like sores on the lips, gums, tongue and on the roof and floor of the mouth.
6. Taste and Appetite Changes
Sometimes surgery and treatments such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation therapy can change the way food tastes or cause poor appetite, making it difficult for the patient to keep a healthy weight and better tolerate treatment.
Pain may be a side effect of treatments, like chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. However, some of the side effects listed here may also cause related pain.
8. Skin and Nail Changes
Nail changes, such as inflammation around the nail area, may also occur during treatment. Treatment may also cause hand-foot syndrome, which causes redness, tenderness, dryness and peeling of the palms and soles.
Pancreatic cancer treatments can cause unwelcomed side effects, but your healthcare team can help you manage them. Be sure to bring up your side effects and supportive care with your healthcare team so they can help you feel your best.