Late effects of chemotherapy

Late effects of chemotherapy

Some people may have late effects from the chemotherapy. These are side effects you still have six months after chemotherapy, or side effects that begin years later. Late effects aren’t common and any risk is outweighed by the benefits of chemotherapy.

Your cancer doctor or specialist nurse can explain any possible late effects of your chemotherapy treatment. Occasionally, some chemotherapy drugs may increase the risk of developing heart or lung problems or rarely a second cancer. Some drugs may cause an early menopause, infertility – in both men and women or peripheral neuropathy.

Effects on the heart or lungs

Some chemotherapy drugs can increase the risk of heart or lung problems later in life. Your doctor can give you more information about this.

Taking care of your general health by looking after your heart, bones and lungs may help reduce the risk of certain late effects. You can do this by:

Second cancer

Some chemotherapy drugs can increase the risk of developing some types of cancer or leukaemia later in life. This is rare, and your doctors will weigh up the small increase in risk of this happening, against the benefit of the chemotherapy in treating your cancer.

It’s important to remember late effects aren’t common and any risk of getting them is outweighed by the benefits of chemotherapy.

Back to Side effects of chemotherapy

Possible side effects

Chemotherapy treatment can cause different side effects. Your doctor or nurse can help you control and manage them.