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When To Call Your Doctor While Receiving Chemotherapy


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© American Cancer Society 2010

When To Call Your Doctor When Undergoing Chemotherapy

At this time, you are likely more in tune with your body than you ever have been in your life. You notice every physical change and imbalance. Do not make light of any physical symptoms you may have.

Although some side effects are fleeting and minor, others signal potentially serious problems. You should not be the judge. Alert your doctor immediately if you suffer from any of the following symptoms during your chemotherapy treatment:

  • A fever of 100.5 'F or greater
  • Bleeding or unexplained bruising
  • A rash or allergic reaction, such as swelling or severe itching or wheezing
  • Intense chills
  • Pain or soreness at the chemo injection site or catheter site
  • Unusual pain, including intense headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Long-lasting diarrhea or vomiting
  • Bloody stool or blood in your urine

Chemo drugs can affect the bone marrow's ability to make platelets. These are the blood cells that help stop bleeding by pluggingup damaged blood vessels and by helping your blood to clot. If your blood does not have enough platelets, you may bleed or bruise more esaily than usual, even from a minor injury. A shortage of platelets is called thrombocytopenia.

When To Call Your Doctor When Your Platelets Are Low

Report these signs of thrombocytopenia to your doctor:

  • Unexpected bruising
  • Small red spots under the skin
  • Red or pink urine
  • Black or bloody bowel movements
  • Any bleeding from your gums or nose
  • Bad headaches
  • Dizziness
  • An increase in weakness
  • Pain in joints and muscles

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