Managing Side Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment

5:54 PM, May 19, 2011   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY -- When it comes to breast cancer, patients have several treatment options.  But with those options can come some pretty uncomfortable side effects.

Radiation is often used to help shrink breast tumors.  But fatigue and skin problems such as redness and burning are two side effects of radiation.  Chemotherapy and endocrine therapies involve the use of drugs and hormones.  Side effects associated with these include hair loss, hot flashes, joint pain and bone loss.  

Managing these side effects are part of the overall process of treating cancer.

"When a patient comes in and they've had chemotherapy, we get a list of the side effects that they're dealing with or have dealt with in those last few weeks and we go down the list and we think or plan a remedy, whether it be a prescription, over the counter remedy, holistic remedy, vitamin.  We try some way to counter act that side effect from happening again," said Julie Ross, a nurse practitioner at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

There is a psychological aspect to this as well.  Dealing with side-effects can be stressful.  Ross adds helping patients with anxiety and depression is also part of the treatment process.

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