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What are the possible risks of chemotherapy?

Possible risks of chemotherapy include:
  • Low blood counts. Chemotherapy lowers the number of blood cells in the body. If the numbers are too low, you may need a blood transfusion.
  • Infection. When white blood cell numbers are low, you are at risk for infection.
  • Allergic reaction. Some chemotherapy and biotherapy medications can cause an allergic reaction in some patients. Symptoms include fever, rash, changes in blood pressure, and difficulty breathing. Severe reactions are rare.
  • Mouth sores and change in taste. Some chemotherapy or biotherapy medications can damage the lining of the mouth, esophagus, and intestinal tract (gut). This can change the way some foods taste to you.
  • Long-term effects. Chemotherapy and biotherapy can have long-term effects on different body systems. Some effects may not be noticed for several years after treatment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.