Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare and aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and chest wall. Chemotherapy is one of the primary treatment options for MPM patients, along with surgery and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy involves the use of powerful drugs to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. However, chemotherapy can also cause a range of side effects, some of which can be severe. In this answer, we will discuss the potential side effects of chemotherapy for MPM patients.
Nausea and vomiting: Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy. These can occur soon after treatment or several days later. The severity of these symptoms can vary from patient to patient. Anti-nausea medication can help to manage these symptoms.
Fatigue: Chemotherapy can cause fatigue, which can be severe and debilitating. Patients may feel tired and weak, and may need to rest frequently. Exercise and a healthy diet can help to manage fatigue.
Hair loss: Chemotherapy drugs can cause hair loss, including hair on the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, and other parts of the body. Hair loss can be temporary or permanent, depending on the type of chemotherapy used.
Infection: Chemotherapy can weaken the immune system, making patients more vulnerable to infections. Patients may need to take precautions to avoid exposure to germs, such as avoiding crowds and washing their hands frequently.
Anemia: Chemotherapy can cause a decrease in the number of red blood cells, leading to anemia. Anemia can cause fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath. Blood transfusions or medications can help to manage anemia.
Neuropathy: Chemotherapy can cause damage to the nerves in the hands and feet, leading to numbness, tingling, or pain. This condition is known as neuropathy. Patients may experience difficulty walking or performing daily activities. Medications can help to manage neuropathy.
Mouth sores: Chemotherapy can cause sores or ulcers in the mouth, making it difficult to eat or drink. Patients may need to adjust their diet or use special mouthwashes to manage these symptoms.
Skin changes: Chemotherapy can cause skin changes, including dryness, rash, and sensitivity to sunlight. Patients may need to use moisturizers or avoid exposure to sunlight to manage these symptoms.
Heart damage: Some chemotherapy drugs can cause damage to the heart, leading to heart failure or other cardiac problems. Patients may need to undergo regular monitoring to detect and manage these issues.
Kidney damage: Chemotherapy can cause damage to the kidneys, leading to decreased kidney function or kidney failure. Patients may need to undergo regular monitoring to detect and manage these issues.
In summary, chemotherapy can cause a range of side effects for MPM patients. These can include nausea and vomiting, fatigue, hair loss, infection, anemia, neuropathy, mouth sores, skin changes, heart damage, and kidney damage. Patients should discuss these potential side effects with their healthcare provider and develop a plan to manage them effectively.