Long-term and late effects of bowel cancer treatment
You may come across different terms to describe side effects that happen or are still present after treatment is over.
There are two commonly used terms:
Long-term effects begin during or shortly after treatment and don’t go away within the following six months. They may go away eventually on their own, with symptoms gradually getting better for up to a year or two after treatment ends. Sometimes long-term effects are permanent.
Late effects are a delayed response to treatment. Late effects don’t appear during treatment, but can happen months or even years later.
In this section we use the term late effects to include both long-term and late effects.
Some people think that side effects are a price they have to pay for being free of cancer. But, often this isn’t the case. There are many things that can be done to manage or treat late effects. It’s important that you don’t feel you just have to put up with them.
People sometimes worry that their symptoms are caused by the cancer coming back. Your doctor or nurse will be able to reassure you, or arrange to have your symptoms checked if necessary.