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Side effects of chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer, mitigation measures

chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer Cytotoxic drugs can cause some unwanted effects. In each patient, these side effects may be different manifestations of the degree determined by the type of the preparation.

Physicians in the clinic Assuta employ a wide range of different techniques aimed at reducing the side effects of chemotherapy. Firstly, professionally selected for each case of disease drugs, their dosage and combinations thereof. It uses a new generation of drugs, which are characterized by a weaker toxicity. Apply different technologies delivering cytotoxic drugs specifically to tumor cells.

If you are interested in alternative treatments in Israel, we can offer the organization services chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer in the largest private medical center of the country - in Assuta.

Many chemotherapeutic agents provoke the reduction of blood cells produced by the bone marrow. This process usually begins seven days after the start of treatment, but returned to normal levels in 3-4 weeks after therapy. Doctors routinely check the blood, taking tests.

The drop in blood cell count can lead to the following undesirable phenomena:

  • Once reduced white blood cell count, the body becomes more difficult to fight off infections. Symptoms of infection may include headaches, feeling of fever, cough or sore throat, high fever.
  • Anemia - a decrease in red blood cells results in fatigue and shortness of breath. Sometimes the cell level so reduced that need a blood transfusion.
  • Falling platelet promoting coagulation process results in bruising, bleeding from the nose, gingival bleeding after brushing; rash consisting of small red spots or bruises on the hands and feet.

Depending on the drug, which takes the patient, and other undesirable effects of chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer may include: vomiting and nausea, diarrhea, constipation, mouth sores, loss of appetite, hair loss, hand-foot syndrome (redness and peeling on the palms and soles of the feet), infertility, changes in the nervous system.

Side effects are mainly temporary and often steps can be taken to prevent or reduce them.


Cancer increases the risk of thrombosis, and cytotoxic drugs enhance this process. Blood clots can be very serious consequences, so it is important to inform the doctor immediately for symptoms such as pain, redness and swelling in the leg, shortness of breath and chest pain.

However, most cases are successfully treated by medication, blood thinners.

Recommendations and advice on how to cope with side effects

It is important to keep chemotherapy diary to record information about their treatment, details about the undesirable consequences of the test. You can do this on paper or in electronic form - on a smartphone, for example.


Feeling of fatigue and lack of energy - the most common and debilitating side effect. The patient feels sleepiness, confusion and irritability, which makes complex daily activities. Fatigue may appear suddenly, and rest it is not able to alleviate. And these feelings are stored for weeks or months after treatment.

Recommendations for the management of this condition:

  1. It is necessary to conserve energy. Work on the restoration of the body, resting more. Try to plan a time event of the day, when the state of more vigorous.
  2. It is important to more sleep at night and rest during the day, if possible.
  3. Gentle exercise such as walking, can be useful. If there is already a specific training regimen, and the patient feels that he can follow it, it is important to talk with your doctor whether it is safe. It is not recommended to start a new exercise routine, until he completed a course of treatment.
  4. It may be useful relaxation and meditation.
  5. It is important to check whether the fatigue is not associated with anemia, which has been successfully treated.

Nausea and vomiting

For cancer of Chemotherapy the pancreas is Able to trigger for These symptoms of. Not every patient experiences nausea during and after treatment, but if the symptom occurs, it usually occurs several hours after treatment. Nausea can last for many hours, and be accompanied by vomiting or gagging her. Oncologist accurately say whether the cause of these symptoms medication as prescribed. Can help antiemetics, in various forms, it can be:

  1. Injection - usually a nurse before treatment.
  2. Tablets - they have regular opportunities to take home.
  3. Suppositories - injected into the rectum, where they dissolve.
  4. Liquid solutions - is added to chemotherapy.

The doctor may prescribe a Assuta medication before treatment to reduce the side effects. Sometimes it takes a while before there running a medicine.

Recommendations on how to deal with nausea and vomiting

  1. There is little and often, especially before the start of treatment (eg, soup and crackers or toast) and drink plenty of fluids.
  2. Instead of drinking a lot at once, often try to use a small amount of liquid. Sucking ice cubes can also help to increase your fluid intake.
  3. If in the morning there is nausea, you can eat a biscuit (helps ginger) or toast. This is better than skipping breakfast or force yourself to eat. If you have diabetes, you should consult with your doctor.
  4. Carbonated drinks such as ginger ale or club soda often help relieve indigestion.
  5. It is important to maintain the required amount of consumption of fluids to prevent dehydration if vomiting occurs.
  6. Avoid strong odors and odors associated with cooking, if they cause these symptoms.
  7. Sometimes the taste of certain foods can change. The sense of taste should return to normal within a few weeks after completion of treatment.
  8. Further advice on nutrition during chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer can be obtained from the dietician at Assuta.

Hair loss

Some cytotoxic agents used in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, can cause complete loss of hair, while others lead to thinning.

Hair starts to fall out, usually after two - three weeks after the first treatment, and their growth is resumed after the end of treatment. During the hair loss patient may also feel itching, fever and tingling sensation on the scalp skin.

Often, the hair falls out and in other areas of the body - the eyebrows, eyelashes, arms, legs, chest.

Recommendations on how to deal with this problem:

  • Wash your hair with a mild shampoo on the child type.
  • Carefully use a brush with soft bristles for combing hair.
  • Avoid perms and chemical dyes, limit the use of hair dryer, hair straightener, ploek.
  • If the lashes fall out, you need eyes from the sun with glasses.
  • If the scalp becomes very sensitive, itchy, marked pain, tell your doctor.

Skin Problems

The skin may respond to treatment with cytostatics. Some people experience dry, flaking, itching or darkening. Usually, it becomes more sensitive to the sun, so it is important to use a sunscreen with a high protection factor and wear a hat, especially in summer.


  1. Shower should be taken with a moisturizing soap.
  2. You should use a moisturizing lotion or cream immediately after a shower.
  3. The period of treatment is necessary to give preference to clothes made from cotton rather than synthetic or coarse fibers.
  4. Laundry detergents should choose for people with sensitive skin.
  5. It is important to drink plenty of water.

Inflammation in the oral cavity

Certain chemotherapy drugs can cause inflammation in the oral cavity. If there are any changes in the mouth or in the throat, you should seek help from a medical team, which works with the patient. If there are problems with your teeth, you need to turn to the dentist, but it should be notified of completion of chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer.

Recommendations for oral care

  1. Use a soft toothbrush.
  2. Mouthwash apply saline fluid and to avoid liquid containing alcohol.
  3. Necessary to use liquid products, for example, soup, and to minimize the very hot, spicy and coarse food.
  4. During intravenous chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer can suck ice.
  5. Avoided during treatment of smoking and alcohol because they cause irritation in the mouth.

Constipation or diarrhea

Some chemotherapy drugs, analgesics, anti-emetics may cause constipation or diarrhea. You must inform your doctor if there have been significant changes in bowel habits.


  • You should definitely inform the specialist if constipation occurs more than two days. He can change a course of chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer or prescribe medication to relieve this symptom.
  • Juices, for example, plum can alleviate the condition.
  • Eat more foods high in fiber - whole grain bread from durum wheat pasta, bran, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes.
  • It is important to drink plenty of fluids.
  • Light exercise such as walking, can improve bowel function.

Recommendations for diarrhea:

  1. It is necessary to drink plenty of fluids to make up for lost stock.
  2. Avoid spicy, fatty or fried foods. As well as whole grains, fruits and vegetables to replace the softer food, such as boiled rice.
  3. It should limit the use of fruit juice, strong tea and alcohol, as they can stimulate the bowels.
  4. If the diarrhea becomes severe, it will lead to dehydration may require hospitalization, so that the body received extra fluid intravenously.


Chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer can cause a decrease in the number of white blood cells to cause difficulties for the body to fight infection. This means that cold and flu will be difficult to recover, healing of cuts and scratches will take longer, which will increase the chance of infection.

It should be with a doctor to discuss the possibility of a flu shot. If family or friends are suffering from colds or digestive disorders, it is better to postpone the meeting and communication.

Signs of infection are fever, headache, flu-like symptoms. We need urgent help, if the following clinical manifestations are observed:

  • Sweating or chills.
  • The temperature of 38 or more.
  • The constant and intense vomiting.
  • Severe abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea.
  • Unusual bleeding.
  • Pain, redness, swelling in the cannula.
  • Rapid deterioration of health or any serious side effects are not specific to the particular case.

Treatment to increase neutrophil

Neutrophils - a type of white blood cells that help defend the body against infections. Chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer can reduce their number, increasing the risk of infections. Before the beginning of each course, the doctor checks the blood. If the content of neutrophils is too low, the physician may prescribe injection granulocyte colony stimulating factor after the treatment with cytostatics.

The specialist will talk about the potential unintended consequences. Some people may experience bone pain, pain at the injection site, symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Recommendations to prevent / treat infections:

  • It is necessary to check the temperature regularly if feeling bad.
  • It is necessary to be vigilant in matters of personal hygiene - wash your hands before preparing or eating food, and so forth.
  • It should be careful in handling raw meat - use separate boards and utensils for raw and cooked foods. These products are stored separately in sealed containers.
  • Avoid eating food which ends shelf life.
  • Carefully wash fruits and vegetables.
  • Desirable to avoid soft cheeses, raw and rare fish, meat and eggs, unpasteurized dairy products.
  • Stop communicating with people who do not feel well, especially if it's the flu or other infectious diseases, such as measles, chicken pox, mumps.


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