Physical Consequences | MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid
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Physical consequences

The physical side effects experienced by cancer patients can be caused by the cancer itself, and/or aggressive therapies used to treat it.

Short-term side effects occur during treatment. Common symptoms include nausea, hair loss, pain, fatigue and weight loss. Generally, these side effects go away after active treatment ends. Your doctor can prescribe medication to minimize short-term side effects. Complementary therapies such as yoga, acupuncture and massage can work in combination with medication for enhanced relief of cancer or treatment-related symptoms.

Long-term side effects are those that begin during treatment and continue after the end of treatment, such as infertility or memory loss.

Late side effects are symptoms that appear months or years after treatment has ended, including heart failure, osteoporosis, psychological problems and second cancers.

Physical Impacts by Cancer Type

In a study of 5,836 cancer survivors whose median age was between 51 and 71 years, researchers identified the four most frequently reported health problems by survivors of specific cancers:

  • Arthritis/osteoporosis (19.1%)
  • Memory loss (14.7%)
  • Migraine headaches (10.3%)
  • Heart problems (10.3%)

Information on the most frequent types of health problems in survivors of bladder cancer is not available at this time. Discuss your own situation with your doctor.

  • Arthritis/osteoporosis (37.6%)
  • Cataracts (19.1%)
  • Heart problems (15.3%)
  • Thyroid problems(11.1%)
  • Cataracts (18%)
  • Arthritis/osteoporosis (18%)
  • Frequent infections (15%)
  • Heart problems (15%)
  • Arthritis/osteoporosis (22%)
  • Cataracts (19%)
  • Heart problems (15%)
  • Hearing loss (14%)
  • Heart problems (19%)
  • Cataracts (17%)
  • Arthritis/osteoporosis (17%)
  • Memory loss (15%)
  • Urinary (22%)
  • Arthritis/osteoporosis (18%)
  • Heart problems (17%)
  • Cataracts (15%)
  • Arthritis/osteoporosis (31%)
  • Urinary (19%)
  • Cataracts (16%)
  • Heart problems (13%)
  • Arthritis/osteoporosis (21%)
  • Cataracts (19%)
  • Thyroid (17%)
  • Heart problems (14%)
  • Thyroid (34%)
  • Heart problems (26%)
  • Arthritis/osteoporosis (14%)
  • Lung (10%)

Information on the most frequently reported types of health problems is not available at this time. Discuss your individual situation with your doctor.

  • Arthritis/osteoporosis (24%)
  • Heart problems (18%)
  • Cataracts (18%)
  • Hearing loss (17%)
  • Arthritis/osteoporosis (25%)
  • Cataracts (21%)
  • Heart problems (18%)
  • Memory loss (15%)
  • Cataracts (14%)
  • Heart problems (12%)
  • Arthritis/osteoporosis (11%)
  • Hearing loss (10%)

Information on the most frequently reported types of health problems is not available at this time. Discuss your individual situation with your doctor.

  • Arthritis/osteoporosis (24%)
  • Heart problems (18%)
  • Circulation (12%)
  • Hearing loss (10%)
  • Arthritis/osteoporosis (27%)
  • Cataracts (13%)
  • Heart problems (13%)
  • Hearing loss (9%))

In a separate study of 518 thyroid cancer survivors, 64.5% reported problems with overall health, including nervous and musculoskeletal disorders, memory loss, psychological problems and migraine headaches.