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Urgent Chemotherapy Health Concerns

Chemotherapy may cause urgent side effects related to infection and bleeding.

While cancer therapy may cause many different side effects, the most serious are increased risks of infection and bleeding, generally caused by lowered blood counts. If you have any of the following problems, it is important to seek medical attention. Remember, the sooner you talk to your doctor or nurse, the sooner you can get the help you need.

Learn more about side effects

Urgent health concerns

Call immediately if you have the below health concerns.

  • Oral temperature over 100.5°F or shaking chills.
  • New symptoms of burning, pain or blood when passing urine. 
  • Persistent nose bleeds, bloody or black stools, or increased bruising of skin.
  • New problem of increased shortnesss of breath or pain while breathing.
  • Severe feelings of sadness or thoughts of hurting yourself or suicide.
  • Pain, redness, or swelling of extremity.

Health concerns that may need medical attention

Call within 24 hours if you have these health concerns.

  • Vomiting or "throwing-up" that does not get better by the next day.
  • Painful sores in your mouth after chemotherapy that do not allow you to eat or drink.
  • Increased phlegm or change in its color, sore throat, or more coughing than is usual for you.
  • Diarrhea or loose, watery bowel movements lasting more than 2 days.
  • Constipation that does not improve with your usual laxative within 2 days.
  • New or increased pain that does not get better with pain medicine.

Home chemotherapy precautions

There are certain precautions you and your caregiver should take at home after receiving chemotherapy. 

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Oncology nurse triage line

An oncology registered nurse is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have symptoms listed under the urgent section or symptoms that cannot wait until the next business day, the nurse may be reached by calling the oncology nurse triage line at each cancer center.

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