NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Multiple Myeloma
3.3 Stem cell transplant
Side effects of cancer treatments
Side effects are new or worse physical or emotional
conditions caused by treatment. Each treatment for
myeloma can cause side effects, but how your body will
respond can’t be fully known. You may have different
side effects than someone else. Common side effects
of treatments are listed below.
Side effects of radiation therapy
may not occur in the first few visits. Over time, you may
have nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue. Other common
side effects include changes in your skin and hair loss
in the treated area.
You may experience weakness, tiredness,
and pain after the surgery. Other common side effects
are swelling and surgical scars.
The side effects of targeted therapy
depend on the drug and dose. Common side effects
include tiredness, weakness, nausea or vomiting,
diarrhea, constipation, numbness or tingling in the
hands or feet, skin rash, and muscle aches.
Like targeted therapy, side effects of
chemotherapy depend on many things. In general, side
effects are caused by the death of fast growing cells,
which are found in the gut, mouth, and blood. As a
result, common side effects include infections, diarrhea,
nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, tiredness or weakness,
numbness or tingling of hands or feet, skin and nail
changes, hair loss, swelling, and not feeling hungry.
Most side effects of steroids go away over
time once the drugs are stopped. Common side effects
include feeling hungry, trouble sleeping, slow wound
healing, upset stomach, and swelling in the ankles,
feet, and hands.
Stem cell transplant.
Side effects can occur at each
step of the treatment. You may feel dizzy or have
tingling in your hands and feet during apheresis.
Common side effects of chemotherapy are listed
above. While waiting for the cells to engraft, you will
likely feel tired and weak.
Allogeneic stem cell transplants have a high risk of
isease). GVHD is when
the donated cells (the graft) see the cells in your body
(the host) as invaders and attack them. The parts of
the body most commonly damaged by GVHD include
the skin, liver, and intestines. GVHD is a serious side
effect that can cause the transplant to fail by stopping
the donated stem cells from growing in your bone
marrow. GVHD can develop within a few weeks after
the transplant or much later.
Controlling side effects is important for your quality
of life. There are many ways to limit these problems.
However, listing all the ways is beyond the scope of
this booklet. In general, changes in behavior, diet, or
medications may help. Don’t wait to tell your treatment
team about side effects. If you don’t tell your treatment
team, they may not know how you are feeling.