NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Pancreatic Cancer, Version 1.2014
Overview of cancer treatments Side effects of treatment
Side effects of treatment
Side effects are unplanned or unwanted
physical or emotional conditions caused by
cancer treatment. Each treatment for pancreatic
cancer 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 pancreatic cancer
treatments are listed to the right.
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 book. 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.
Ask your treatment team for a full list
of common and rare side effects of any
treatment you may have.
You may experience weakness, tiredness, and
pain after the surgery. Other common side effects
are difficulty digesting food, diabetes, leakage of
pancreatic fluids, and surgical scars.
Side effects of radiation therapy may not occur in the
first few visits. Over time, you may have discomfort
in your belly area (abdomen). Other common side
effects are nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and not feeling
Side effects of chemotherapy depend on the drug,
amount taken, length of treatment, and the person.
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
diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, tiredness or
weakness, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet,
skin and nail changes, hair loss, swelling, and not
Common side effects of erlotinib are skin rash,
diarrhea, nausea, feeling tired, and not feeling
hungry. The rash may appear on the face, neck, or
trunk of the body within the first 2 weeks of treatment.