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Effect of Chemotherapy on various organs of the body:

Blood Health:

  • Chemotherapy decreases red blood cells (anemia)[1]
  • Chemotherapy decreases white blood cells (leukopenia)[2]
  • Chemotherapy decreases blood platelets [3]

Bone Health:

  • Chemotherapy causes bone death (osteonecrosis) [4]
  • Chemotherapy causes loss of bone mineral density (osteopor-osis) [ 5-6]

Brain Health:

  • Chemotherapy is toxic to the brain (neurotoxic) [7]
  • Chemotherapy causes long-lasting impairment of concentration, forgetfulness and slower thinking; termed “chemobrain [8-9]
  • Chemotherapy causes altered consciousness [10]
  • Chemotherapy causes degeneration of white matter in the brain(leukoencephalopathy)[10]
  • Chemotherapy causes damage(neuropathy) [10]
  • Chemotherapy causes seizures [10]
  • Chemotherapy causes paralysis[10]
  • Chemotherapy causes stroke (cerebral infarction)[10]

Digestive Health:

  • Chemotherapy causes diarrhoea[18]
  • Chemotherapy causes painful inflammation and ulceration in the digestive tract (intestinal mucositis) [23]
  • Chemotherapy causes “significant intestinal damage in both jejunum and colon” [19]

Exercise:

  • Chemotherapy reduces grip strength [20]
  • Chemotherapy causes muscle dysfunction and a loss of overall strength [21]

Eye Health:

  • Chemotherapy causes severe vision loss and altered colorvision [22]
  • Chemotherapy causes complete blindness [23]

Hair Health:

  • Chemotherapy causes hair-loss [30]

Healing:

  • Chemotherapy impairs wound healing [31]

Hearing:

  • Chemotherapy causes “severe to profound hearing loss” [32]
  • Chemotherapy causes chronic ringing of the ears (tinnitus) [32]

Heart Health:

  • Chemotherapy damages the heart [33]
  • Chemotherapy causes heart disease [34]
  • Chemotherapy causes heart failure [35]
  • Chemotherapy causes heart attacks (myocardial infarction) [36]

Immune System:

  • Chemotherapy causes long-term immune system damage [37-38]
  • Chemotherapy exacerbates existing hepatitis C infections [39]
  • Chemotherapy reactivates hepatitis B virus [40]
  • Chemotherapy impairs anti-tumor immune response [41]

Kidney Health:

  • Chemotherapy causes kidney failure [42]

Liver Health:

  • Chemotherapy causes liver injury [43]

Lung Health:

  • Chemotherapy causes lung disease [44]

Mental Health:

  • Chemotherapy “decreased emotional and social function and increased distress” [11]
  • Chemotherapy causes depression [12]
  • Chemotherapy causes anxiety [13]

Oral Health:

  • Chemotherapy causes severe dental caries [14]
  • Chemotherapy causes dry mouth (xerostomia), ulcers and mouth sores [45]
  • Chemotherapy causes oral candida (fungal) infection [15]
  • Chemotherapy causes painful inflammation and ulceration in the mouth (oral mucositis) [16]
  • Chemotherapy causes “a diverse spectrum of oral changes that generally are attributed to im-munosuppression and bleeding tendencies” [17]

Pain:

  • Chemotherapy causes neuropathic pain; burning or coldness, “pins and needles” sensations, numbness and itching [46]
  • Chemotherapy pain remains one-year after treatment [47]

Quality of Life:

  • Chemotherapy causes diffculty swallowing (dysphagia) [48]
  • Chemotherapy causes nausea and vomiting (emesis) [49-50]
  • Chemotherapy causes altered taste sensation [51]
  • Chemotherapy causes migraine headaches.[52]

Sexual Health:

  • Chemotherapy causes infertility and premature ovarian failure [24-25] in up to 66% of women [26]
  • Chemotherapy causes absence of menstrual period (amenorrhea) [27]
  • Chemotherapy causes menopausal symptoms [27]
  • Chemotherapy damages sperm and testicular tissue [28-29]
  • Chemotherapy reduces reproductive organ weight; sperm count and sperm motility [28]

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