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Post Treatment 6 months +

Physical and mental effects may linger. New ones may show up. Avoid an impulse to engage in risky behavior. Report new symptoms or changes in existing symptoms to your doctor.

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It is possible that the physical and mental effects of chemotherapy or radiation will continue for quite a while. For example, fatigue may persist.. Depression may be ongoing or recurrent. The severity, and how long they continue, varies from person to person.

You may even experience post traumatic stress.

If you had chemotherapy, it is not unusual for a reaction known as "chemo brain" to continue or even to show up after treatment ends.

If you experience fatigue, work with your doctor to try to determine the cause. For example, fatigue could be a symptom of:

  • Depression: A psychologist can help improve functioning, especially one knowledgeable about the impact of cancer on someone's life. Psychotropic medication may also help.
  • Hypothyroidism: Thyroid tests usually done routinely may not be specific enough for people with cancer treatment in their medical history. If thyroid problems are suspected, a specialist known as an endocrinologist will be able to accurately diagnose and treat them.
  • Anemia: A simple blood test can determine iron deficiency anemia. Some people may need iron supplementation. A change in eating habits may help.
  • Heart problems.

Other symptoms may show up in time. For example, peripheral neuropathy (a tingling or pain in your hands or feet).

Watch for increases in risky behavior. This kind of behavior has been reported in cancer survivors. It can lead to subsequent illness or injury.

Continue the techniques that worked to combat side effects during treatment. If they' stop being effective, consider using other methods. They are described in the documents noted in "To Learn More" - including techniques for coping with chemo brain.

If any lingering effects interfere with your life or seem severe, contact your cancer doctor or other health care provider.

NOTE: Use oral hygiene. Get a dental check up at least once a year in case any treatment after effects appear. Chemotherapy may lead to problems with your teeth. So can radiation involving the oral cavity or salivary glands.

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