Living with cancer and cancer treatments

From emotional ups and downs to treatment side effects, there are many ways to deal with the challenges cancer will bring as you work to overcome it.

General Information

Going through cancer treatment can be a difficult and painful ordeal. People often experience emotionally draining and physically challenging side effects. Fortunately, most side effects will go away in time and there are ways to learn to deal with them and minimise the disruption to your life.


Side effects usually appear two to three weeks after treatment begins. The extent of these side effects can vary widely from person to person. However, most side effects will gradually subside after treatment ends while some may remain extended period of time.


Before starting treatment, make sure you understand all the possible side effects to avoid an unnecessary scare. Ask your doctor to list all the possible side effects (including long-term effects) and means of relief.


Side effects depend not only on the type of cancer and the drug(s) used, but also on the physical condition and temperament of the patient. The actual side effects can vary widely from person to person.


Keep a daily log of your side effects and how you deal with them. This will help your doctor find a better balance between treatment results and associated side effects. Consult a doctor when you have any doubt about a side effect you are experiencing, or call the nurse at the oncology department of the hospital you are consulting.


If you are having difficulties coping with the emotional burden of your treatment or would like more information on how to deal with your side effects, contact us by calling our hotline on 3656 0800.



Dr. Chan Lam Stephen, Associate Professor (Clinical), Department of Clinical Oncology, Chinese University of Hong Kong


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