5 Long-Term Side Effects of Chemotherapy

When it comes to today’s methods, what are the potential long-term side effects of chemotherapy treatment?

Chemotherapy, the treatment of certain conditions including cancer via strong and unique chemical compounds, is a renowned approach for its advantages as well as its disadvantages. The patient here may certainly get better with treatment, but undesirable side effects are sometimes part of it.

Here are some of those potential long-term side effects of chemotherapy treatment at this point in time.

Nervous System Issues

The nervous system is what essentially gives us our sense of touch and feeling as well as provides a way for data to be communicated across the body between the brain and body parts. It is fairly common for many types of chemo to have an effect on the central and/or the peripheral nervous system for a short time. This is also referred to as neurotoxicity.

While much less common, these effects have been found to be permanent in some patients. Long-term nervous system problems can lead to a long list of symptoms and is best handled by a specialist. This info and more on the topic can be found at here.

Ovary Damage

The ovaries are the female reproductive organs that are essentially responsible for egg management. Unfortunately, this sensitive and important part of the female body can absolutely fall victim to chemotherapy side effects. When there is such resulting damage from treatment, pain, bleeding, infertility, and other associated conditions may persist or arise.

The good news here is that there are a number of damage-preventing drugs in development, and some in use, that prevent such tragedy. These drugs are designed to block the ovaries and immediate area from many of the effects of the chemo. So far, great promise is showing in this area of development.


As briefly mentioned above, infertility is a real and distinct possibility when it comes to cancer treatments like chemotherapy. Treatment location, drug type, and dosage amounts are some of the most notable deciding factors here. Such is the case for men equally as it is for women. As discussed by Cancer.net, the information portal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, infertility can be safeguarded against by either proactive, preventive steps during treatment or by way of the preservation of reproductive cells before treatment.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a surprising side effect for many to learn about with regard to chemo courses. While less common as a long-term side effect of chemo, hearing loss and impairment can go on indefinitely in some cases. Men with testicular cancer who are being treated via chemotherapy are thought to be the most at risk for this particular side effect. In short, this seemingly peculiar side effect manifests because of the damage sometimes done to the sensory hair cells inside the ear by the chemo drugs utilized.

Reduced Lung Function

Reduced lung function is yet another unpleasant and potentially long-term side effect of chemotherapy. Quite counter-intuitively, this condition is often caused by treatment of the chest or lung area for cancer or another serious health issue. The resulting range of symptoms and diagnosable conditions that may subsequently arise within the lungs is unfortunately extensive. In many cases, though, doctors will go ahead and more broadly label such long-term side effects as Chemotherapy-Induced Lung Disease.

Chemotherapy is one of modern medicine’s strongest tools. It is radical and can bring healing in countless cases that would otherwise be considered death sentences in the past. However, these radical treatment methods do come with some associated risk for short as well as long-term side effects. For more detailed information on the possible side effects of chemotherapy or other progressive treatment methods of today, contact your own personal healthcare provider.