Cancer treatments can cause many different side effects. The side effects you’ll experience are dependent upon the specific type of treatment you are undergoing or medication you are taking. Work with the cancer care team at your local hospital to find out more about your treatment and learn to distinguish which side effects necessitate a trip to the emergency room or a call to your oncologist. It’s helpful to have someone with you during your consultations at the hospital to keep track of the information.
Indications of Tumor Lysis Syndrome (TLS)
As the cancer treatment kills the tumor cells, they release substances that can interfere with your metabolism and electrolyte balance. This is a potentially life-threatening condition, possibly leading to seizures and loss of muscle control. Usually, patients suffer from TLS within 48 hours after a round of chemotherapy. If you’re at home when you experience signs of TLS, have someone drive you to the emergency room. These symptoms can include lethargy, cloudy urine, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, joint pain, nausea, and vomiting.
Symptoms of an Infection
Cancer and cancer treatments suppress your immune system, making you more vulnerable to a range of infections. For example, if you have undergone surgery, the surgical site may be prone to infections. If you had a catheter while in the hospital, you are at risk of a urinary tract infection (UTI). The symptoms of an infection vary, but often include a high fever, chills, and sweating. Additionally, an untreated UTI can cause burning during urination and sometimes confusion.
Signs of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
DVT refers to a blood clot, which commonly forms in the legs but may turn into a life-threatening condition if it breaks free and travels along the bloodstream. Call your doctor and go to the hospital promptly if you notice swelling and redness, chest pain that worsens upon breathing, shortness of breath, and fever.
Since 1981, the Cancer Program at Largo Medical Center has received continuous accreditation by the Committee on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons—an acknowledgement of our hospital’s dedication to high-quality, multidisciplinary patient care. Cancer patients at our hospital can take advantage of extensive support services, including cancer education, religious support, and nutritional support. Families in Pinellas County who are battling cancer are encouraged to call our hospital in Largo, FL at (727) 470-6826 to learn more.