Chemotherapy side effects:

This leaflet has been designed to help you and your caregivers become more aware of the possible side effects of chemotherapy. Below is a description of the most common symptoms.

Weakened immune system and blood clotting problems:

Go to the Emergency Room if you have a fever above 38 ºC.

Watch out for signs of bleeding, like bruises.

Avoid crowded spaces and stay away from people who have infectious diseases.

Practice good personal hygiene.

Make sure all food is in good condition and properly cooked.

Protect yourself from bumps and other types of impact, especially those that may leave a wound.

Wear loose-fitting clothes.


The following foods are recommended for people with diarrhea: natural yogurt, cooked rice and pasta, boiled carrots, chicken breast, baked ham, ripe bananas, and peeled apples.

Drink plenty of fluids in small servings.

If your diarrhea persists, talk to your doctor.

Nausea and vomiting:

Keep in mind that these symptoms normally last for 3 to 5 days following treatment. We recommend the following:

Don't cook your own food.

Avoid fried food, greasy food, or foods that have a strong odor.

Eat food that is moderately warm or cold.

Have several light meals throughout the day and eat dry food such as toast, cookies, grains, etc.

Drink cold liquids outside of mealtimes, taking small sips.

Have a light meal a few hours prior to treatment, but not immediately before.

If you experience loss of appetite, changes in your sense of taste (bitter or metallic tastes, etc.):

Eat small, frequent meals in pleasant surroundings, and listen to your body's preferences.

Use aromatic herbs or spices like oregano or rosemary as condiments.

Avoid very cold and very hot foods.

If you develop inflammation of the mucous membranes (e.g., canker sores), do as follows:

Remember that this will pass.

Eat soft foods that are chopped or pureed and mixed with liquids at room temperature.

Stay away from rough-textured, spicy, or dry foods.

Avoid alcohol and tobacco.

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Talk to your doctor about treatments to avoid possible secondary infections.

Weakened hair follicles:

Keep your hair cut short, wash it with a mild shampoo, and brush with a soft hairbrush.

Do not perm or color your hair and do not use a blow-dryer.

Changes to the skin (dryness, sensitivity to the sun):

Protect yourself from sunlight: walking is fine, but limit direct exposure to the sun.

Use moisturizing cream and sunscreen.

Protect your head by wearing caps, hats, etc.

Other practical tips:

Do not take any medication before consulting with your doctor.

You are likely to hear views from many patients or their family members. Keep in mind that each patient and each illness is different, so what happens to others will not necessarily happen to you.

We wish you a speedy recovery and hope that your stay has been as pleasant as possible.