Long-Term Side Effects
Many cancer survivors face some of the following late or long-term physical side effects.
Cancer Recurrence or Secondary Cancers
All cancer patients live with the possibility that their cancer will recur or spread (metastasize). Some patients also may develop secondary cancers, some of which may be a result of treatments used for their original cancer.
Cancer patients treated with certain chemotherapies and radiation may experience health conditions normally seen in older people. One of the most common long-term side effects for women is early menopause, which also increases the risk for osteoporosis. The effects of cancer treatment on men include osteoporosis, incontinence, infertility, and erectile dysfunction or impotence.
Certain types of cancer treatments can age or damage vital organs, causing long-term health problems. These may become apparent only as the survivor ages or develops other medical conditions years after therapy. Some chemotherapy drugs are known to be toxic to the heart, including Herceptin and doxorubicins