Side Effects of Treatment


Amputation may sometimes be necessary if there is a very large tumour involving major nerves and blood vessels in the arm or leg. Rehabilitation, including physical therapy, can be helpful to maximize physical function and adapt. It can also help you cope with the social and emotional impact of losing a limb.

Another factor to consider is the recovery period. Depending on the extent of the surgery, you will have different side effects, including recovery time. Talk to your healthcare team to find the best option for you.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy can damage normal cells, but since it is focused around the tumour, side effects are usually limited to those areas. The most common type of radiation treatment, external-beam radiation therapy, focuses more radiation on the tumour site and less on the normal tissues, meaning there are fewer side effects as compared to when radiation was previously used.

In the case of intraoperative radiation therapy, part of the radiation treatment can be given during surgery, which can decrease the exposure of normal tissue to radiation.

The side effects can include fatigue, mild skin reactions, upset stomach, and loose bowel movements. Short-term effects usually include injury to the skin that looks like a sunburn, which can be treated with a cream. Radiation can also affect wound healing, and in the long-term, can cause scarring that affects regular function of a limb. Another side effect, though very rare, is an increased risk of sarcoma or other cancers.


The side effects of chemotherapy will depend on the individual as well as on the dose, but they can include fatigue, increased risk of infection, nausea and vomiting, hair loss, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. These side effects will typically go away once treatment is completed.

Targeted therapy

The most common side effects of targeted therapy include fatigue, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, increased liver enzymes, cough, constipation, and diarrhea.


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