Late effects of chemotherapy

Some people may have late effects from chemotherapy. These are side effects you still have 6 months after chemotherapy, or side effects that begin years later. Late effects are not 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. Different drugs cause different late effects. Some drugs may cause:

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. There are things you can do to help improve your general health.

We have helpful tips on looking after your heart and how late effects can be monitored and managed.

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 consider the small increase in risk of this happening against the benefit of the chemotherapy in treating your cancer.

Back to Side effects of chemotherapy

Cancer treatments and sepsis

Sepsis can be a serious side effect of some cancer treatments. Find out how to recognise the symptoms and what to do.

Possible side effects

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