The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy means to treat with drugs, and most of the drugs that are used to treat cancer are very powerful.

Chemotherapy is very effective at ‘killing’ cancer cells, which are cells which divide quickly. However, it can’t tell the difference between cancer cells and the ‘normal’ healthy cells that we all have in our bodies. Cancer cells are very similar to normal cells, and some of those normal cells get damaged during treatment. 

During treatment we monitor children and young people closely, we watch for any side effects, and we do tests to check whether any damage is taking place. If we find any problems what we do next depends on how serious those problems are. We may change a drug, reduce the dose or sometimes we may decide we have to accept some side effects as the cost of curing the cancer. We will always explain this to you and agree any actions with you.

Please click here to download more information about the side effects of chemotherapy.