ComplicationsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Cancer and its treatment can cause several complications, including:
- Pain. Pain can be caused by cancer or by cancer treatment. Medications and other approaches can effectively treat cancer-related pain.
- Fatigue. Fatigue in people with cancer has many causes, but it can often be managed. Fatigue associated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatments is common, but it's usually temporary.
- Difficulty breathing. Cancer or cancer treatment may cause a feeling of being short of breath. Treatments may bring relief.
- Nausea. Certain cancers and cancer treatments can cause nausea. Your doctor can sometimes predict if your treatment is likely to cause nausea. Medications and other treatments may help you prevent or cope with nausea.
- Diarrhea or constipation. Cancer and cancer treatment can affect your bowels and cause diarrhea or constipation.
- Weight loss. Cancer and cancer treatment may cause weight loss.
- Unusual immune system reactions to cancer. In some cases the body's immune system may react to the presence of cancer by attacking healthy cells. Called paraneoplastic syndromes, these unusual reactions can lead to a variety of signs and symptoms, such as difficulty walking and seizures.
- Cancer that spreads. As cancer advances, it may spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Where cancer spreads depends on the type of cancer.
- Cancer that returns. Cancer survivors have a risk of cancer recurrence. Some cancers are more likely to recur than others. Ask your doctor about what you can do to reduce your risk of cancer recurrence. Your doctor may devise a follow-up care plan for you after treatment. This plan may include periodic scans and exams in the months and years after your treatment, to look for cancer recurrence.
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