Long-Term Side Effects of Chemotherapy | Collateral Damage: An Overview
Most people expect that surgery, radiation or chemotherapy will cause short-term pain and discomfort. This video explains the long-term side effects—the collateral damage—these and other cancer treatments can cause.
[00:00:00] Dr. Susan Love: I’m Dr. Susan Love, and I’m Chief Visionary Officer, the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. Our mission is a future without breast cancer and we do that through innovative research into the cause and prevention of the disease. Impatient Science is a series of videos that we’ve made to help you understand your diagnosis and treatment choices that you have.
[00:00:27] Speaker 1: As we improve outcomes for many breast cancer patients, more research is being done into the short and long-term side effects of treatment, the collateral damage. It is well-known that cancer treatments can cause temporary side effects, with surgery comes postoperative pain, and with radiation, your skin can turn red. Chemotherapy causes hair loss, nausea, fatigue and mouth sores. While hormone therapy can bring hot flashes or joint pain.
[00:00:54] Speaker 2: Nobody may have told you that there can be permanent long-term changes to your body as the consequence of treatment. It’s like fixing your car after a crash. It may run fine, but the passenger door will never close the same way as it did before the accident.
[00:01:11] Speaker 1: Collateral damage can take many forms. It can appear as lymphedema, which is pain and swelling in an arm or hand or as peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage that causes pain and numbness in the hands or feet. You might also experience chemo brain, a term often used to describe changes in memory and thinking.
[00:01:30] Speaker 2: A lot of times these problems are overlooked and they aren’t talked about that much. As a patient, you feel lucky to be alive, but it would be even better to have your brain fully functional and your feet not hurting.
[00:01:42] Speaker 1: Other collateral damage can include depression, anxiety, fatigue, sexual problems, and permanent loss of sensation in your reconstructed breast.
[00:01:52] Speaker 2: Because this damage is often underreported metastatic patients, we started our metastatic breast cancer collateral damage project. In it, we ask people living with metastatic disease to tell us what they were experiencing in their own words. We’ve learned from hundreds of responses, that there are many problems that remain underdressed.
[00:02:14] Speaker 1: Some of the Foundation’s recommendations are to raise awareness of palliative care, improve access to clinical trials, and provide resources for financial assistance, fertility and sexuality support amongst others. You can learn more about our metastatic breast cancer collateral damage project and participate if eligible on our website.
[00:02:37] Dr. Susan: Our mission at the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation is a future without breast cancer, and we do this through innovative research into the cause and prevention of the disease. You can join us at DrSusanLoveResearch.org to participate in our research or to help fund our research because together, and it’s going to take all of us, we can be the generation that ends breast cancer.