If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatments, it can be an overwhelming experience. It takes a toll on your physical and mental health. Sometimes there can be concerns about health that you may not have an answer to, and you may feel embarrassed talking to an oncologist. However, there is nothing wrong with asking those questions. Here are some of those embarrassing questions that you can ask an oncologist.
Does cancer treatment affect bowel control?
Some side effects of cancer treatments like surgery or radiation therapy can involve some bladder and bowel complications. This includes symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, or even urinary incontinence. It is important to understand the extent of these side effects and prepare yourself to prevent any shocks.
Does chemotherapy or radiation affect sex life?
Studies have suggested that going through long phases of chemotherapy or radiation can possibly cause sexual dysfunction in some people. This can mean side effects like erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, and also decreased libido. Usually, the side effects are temporary and last till the treatment process. However, sometimes, there may also be long-term side effects. This may also depend on the dosage of the treatment and the duration of it. Having an honest conversation with your oncologist about these concerns will help clear out doubts.
Does cancer treatment lead to hair loss?
Hair loss is a common side effect during chemotherapy in some patients. Radiation can also cause hair loss, but usually, it is contained to just the area of treatment. This affects all patients differently, but it is best to be mentally prepared for it. Also, due to the cancer treatments, the appetite may also be affected. However, this depends on the duration of the treatment and also on the treatment type and dosage. Speaking to your oncologist about the specific side effects is recommended.
Does cancer treatment affect fertility?
There is a possibility of fertility being affected, but it again depends on the type of treatment along with the duration. However, if this is a concern, then speaking freely with your oncologist will provide you with some solutions. A lot of patients consider freezing their eggs or sperm at the beginning of the treatment process in case the side effects are too severe.
Joining a support group and surrounding yourself with supportive family and friends is important when going through cancer treatments, as it can affect mental health and lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression.