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Side Effect Management

Published by Dr. Jennifer Nardella

One of the challenges of treating cancer is the severe side effects caused by the treatments themselves, such as chemotherapy and radiation.  The majority of  chemotherapy agents share the following side effects: diarrhea/constipation, nausea, depressed blood cell counts.

Here are some chemotherapeutic agents and their most common side effects:

Alkylating Agents

  • Cyclophosphamide
    • Palmar-Plantar Erythrodysesthesia (PPE)
    • Myelosuppression
    • Neuropathy


  • Cisplatin, Carboplatin, Oxaliplatin
    • Alopecia
    • Myelosuppression
    • Neuropathy


  • Gemcitabine, 5-FU
    • Mucositis
    • Stomatitis
    • Photosensitivity
    • Palmar-Plantar Erythrodysesthesia (PPE)

Topoisomerase inhibitors

  • Irinotecan
    • Diarrhea
    • Myelosuppression

Monoclonal Antibodies

  • Rituximab
    • Weakness
    • Myalgia
    • Athralgia
    • Headaches
    • Dizziness

Microtubule Inhibitors

  • Vincristine, Vinblastine
    • Myalgia
    • Athralgia
    • Myelosuppression
    • Neuropathy

There are a lot of therapies and treatments that Naturopathic Medicine has to offer to help manage the side effects from chemotherapy and radiation. Protocols are individualized to meet each patient’s needs during their treatment at the Nardella Clinic in Calgary.

Examples of therapies that help manage side effects include but are not limited to:

  • Individualized supplementation– herbal extracts including mushrooms, nutrients, etc. – for nausea, vomiting, cardiotoxicity, diarrhea, neuropathy, myelosuppression, mucositis.
  • Intravenous therapies – ALA– effective for neuropathy
  • Vitamin/herbal injections – for nausea, vomiting, cardiotoxicity, diarrhea, neuropathy, myelosuppression, mucositis.
  • Acupuncture- for pain and neuropathy
  • Diet
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