21 Side Effects of Chemotherapy Treatment (from a Breast Cancer Thriver- Odisha-India)

Current Status of the Patient: No cancer cells were found after chemotherapy from Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan. Currently the patient is under radiation therapy.


Chemo administration-live

Patient’s name: Mrs. Swarna Prava Sabat

Age: 50 years

Diagnosis: Metastatic Triple Negative Breast Cancer (stage III)

Treating Hospital: Sparse Hospital (privately held), Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

Treating Physician: Dr. Ghanashyam Biswas (https://www.sehat.com/doctors-list/sparsh-hospitals-bhubaneswar)

This article (side effects of chemotherapy treatment) was compiled directly speaking with the patient face to face

Side Effects of Chemotherapy Treatment:

  1. Loss of tooth enamel. It started out with anesthesia administration during mastectomy of the left breast. The enamels were mostly depleted after chemotherapy treatment.
  2. The taste buds were inactive with any food tasting like crap.
  3. All the foods were salty tasting.
  4. Vomiting feeling just looking at cold drinks, biscuits, chocolates and any sweet dishes.
  5. Skin shrinks and feels rough.
  6. Changes in eye color (greyish green to grey).
  7. Loss of hair throughout the body including eye lashes and head.
  8. Foul smell of mouth and urine.
  9. Brittle nails, scratchy and development of black color on finger and toe nails.
  10. Lack of sleep even with sleeping pills.
  11. Chronic fatigue
  12. Gas and bloating inside stomach.
  13. Loss of appetite and weight loss
  14. Water retention leading to swelling of palms and feet
  15. Tinkling sensation on fingers, feet and palm.
  16. Saliva secretion stopped resulting in a dry mouth
  17. Unstable mind
  18. Attention deficit
  19. No sweating from the side the breast and lymph nodes were removed during surgery and prior to chemotherapy.
  20. Spinning head and hangover for 1 to 2 days after chemo making it difficult to walk steadily which dampens over time. This is seen particularly during Epirubicin treatment. For Paclitaxol this effect lasts few hours than days.
  21. Cure of pre-existing skin diseases: Psoriasis, and Cyst.

These side effects experienced heard may be different for different people.  Early detection of breast may lead to cure without chemotherapy. Self-check your breast for any lumps, abnormality or by regular mammography.

What to do to Ease Some of the Side Effects

  • Drink plenty of water and preferably lemon water to get rid of toxins. Try to get colorless urine.
  • Wet your mouth frequently each time with small amounts of water.
  • Eat gas medicine (antacid) as per doctor’s prescription.
  • Eat small portions of protein rich nutrient heavy superfood (link) even if you have almost no appetite.
  • Ask your doctor what not to eat. Guava and grapes were not in the list to eat even if this patient was not diabetic.
  • Maintain adequate hygiene in restrooms and in the place you live in.
    • Wipe off your room everyday at least once using disinfectant.
    • Clean your restroom with Dettol and Phenyl every time you use.
    • Wash your outfits using Dettol to disinfect them after coming from the treatment.
    • Use a separate room to live if you can afford.
    • Restrict the people entering to that room. You have low immunity and are vulnerable to infection from others.
    • Avoid cooking in the kitchen. If your lymph nodes are removed, you ca not filter toxins.
    • Use a 3M mask to stay away from pollutants.
    • Stay clean and wash your hands frequently.
  • Confirm with the treating oncologist of the prescribed medications and doses before you leave the hospital.

Back Ground:

Mrs. Swarna Prava Sabat (my beloved sister in law) was suddenly tested positive for metastatic triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) at stage 3. She went through an immediate surgery which involved the removal of her left breast (This will be detailed in subsequent blogs).

It was a shock to our family. I flew out of US and her only daughter, Amrita took a year off from her Ph.D from south Korea to take care of her mother. We have a family friend who is a well educated doctor (Dr. Ramakanta Sahoo) was our mental support and pinched in always.  I was around her during the chemo treatment in hospital and at home. Friends and families from US and India poured their support to the best of their ability.

In the hospital lobby we saw number of patients quitting chemo treatment half way either due to strong side effects which they are unable to handle or just heard from word of mouth that one could die from chemo.

To help out we wanted to put together the side effects from firsthand experience during the treatment. Besides, search of internet did not retrieve any results about where to go and how to choose treatments or doctors for breast cancers in Odisha. There was one blog about another cancer from Odisha which was of no help to us. We found people lack education among general people to deal with this deadly disease “cancer”. Cancer cells could be cleaned off from the body- this knowledge can help patients and family and help them to choose chemotherapy as an option for cancer treatment. It was a goal to spread our experience.

We hope this article can help patients and families to stay on the course of treatment. We wish all the best to the sufferers and pray God for their well being.

No pain, no gain.

Anusuya Choudhury


  1. Hello Anusaya, it’s sad to go through any form of sickness that would require chemotherapy and i feel really sorry for her, and hope she gets better soon. The side effects of this form of treatment are quite too much and you hardly see a doctor that will tell you the whole side effects. I see great importance in this article for enlightening us and also giving tips on how to deal with the side effects. Cheers.

    • Hi Benson,

      She has completed her radiation therapy. So far so good.

      We as a family and many of our friends helped to find where to search for good doctors, hospital, and what not to put together to come up to where we are now.

      Thank you for your time reading the article and sharing your opinion.

  2. I have a close friend that went through this a few years ago. It broke my heart to see her going through her chemo treatments every week. Just when she would start to feel a little better, it was back to the hospital for another dose. My hope is that one day soon they will have drugs that can eradicate cancer without making patients so horribly ill during the process.


    • I hope so Carrie.

      It is painful to watch. But good thing at this point of time, this is the only choice for us here. We are lucky it worked for her now, although we don’t know the future.

  3. So sorry to hear about your sister-in-law, I hope she is hanging in there.  The side effects are unbelievable I can’t even imagine having any of them.  your

    I have never thought about the process of someone getting Chemotherapy and what it must feel like after.  Thank you for sharing this post, it will be very helpful to so many people.

    Great job.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read. 

      My sister-in-law is doing well by God’s grace.

  4. So bad to hear about what happened to your sister in law, I hope she will recover soon. It’s such a horrible illness, and I didn’t have idea about the side effects of chemotherapy. I mean, I knew that it is destructive for the body, but I didn’t precisely know all these bad effects. It must be really hard, and it is very good that you give tips to overcome these bad effects.

    • Yes, Rosalia. It is deadly and scary just to know about it. She is been recovering well by God’s grace. It comes with so many side effects, not easy to manage them. But she is alive and now functioning well.

  5. Helpful article, thank you so much. I was so engaged in reading because I was looking at the list of chemo effects that are too specific I haven’t read it somewhere else. Our family has a history of cancer too, so I’m taking notes. Thank you for the list, and of course this documentation. For future reference. I bookmarked your blog because I would love to learn more about Ayurveda. Cheers, A

    • Thank you, dear.

      The best is prevention as we all know. Checking it regularly is the key. Finding early reduces lots of risk. It is good that there is surgery and medications to cure this deadly monster.

  6. Hi Anusuya, thank you for this really honest and comprehensive post on such a moving subject. It is hard to see someone you love to experience this but thank God we have treatments and we can find ways to manage some of the side-effects to some extent. These coping mechanisms and managements you have identified are very specific and useful. Your help is appreciated. 

    • Hi Emma,

      It will be long to recover fully. Regardless, God has kept her alive and she is thriving well. Thank you for your kind words.

  7. Hope your sister in law gets well soon and recovers to full health. Must be hard to survive the side effects. Im sure this information will be helpful to the many people having Chemotherapy. Hopefully the advise you give to manage side effects will be helpful. Are you also sharing this content on Social media?Thanks for sharing and God bless.

    • Hi Adam,

      Thank you for your wishes. She completed 2nyears and touch wood, she is doing well so far. Yes this blog has many visitors and I hope they get help. I am not in face book and will do so. However I have shared it Pinterest and Twitter.

      I appreciate your time reading the post and sharing your thought.

  8. Thanks for all this information on chemotherapy side effects.  A friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago and just started this.  It is definitely shocking news to hear when someone you care about has cancer.  So far her chemo has been going alright, but I will keep your suggestions in mind to help ease her side effects.  It is great that science can do this now, but it can still be dangerous depending on the person.

    • Hi Max,

      Hearing about someone having cancer is so terrifying by itself. It feels like a death sentence to start with. Chemo toxins marinate the whole body. It kills cancer cells along with healthy cells. The side effects are terrible. People tolerate it, although I have seen people quitting also because of the severity which they can not handle it.

      In India, we don’t have access to site directed chemo therapy where the cancer cells are only killed. Hopefully the country will have it sooner than later to benefit the patients.

      My apology for replying you so late. I was in India to be with this patient and was stuck for 18 months for Covid outbreak and propagation. Unfortunately the place I lived in had frequent internet disruption and it was frustrating to use the internet. 

  9. I knew kemo was bad, and made people feel horrible. That we have to go to such extreme measure to cure an even worse disease is insane. I’m glad you are doing better, and I’ll pray for you that it continues to work. I wish it didn’t have to be so horrible in order to give yourself a chance but at least there’s is one.

    • Hi there,

      No one wants to hear the name of cancer. If the patient is in a developed country like US there are site specific treatments where the cancer depleting toxic drug could be delivered right on the spot not marinating the whole body with chemo toxins. Now just treat with what may work. I personally have seen the agony. After even 2 years, there is oral chemo being administered to this patient. We are just lucky the patient has so thrived cancer. What more I can say except wishing her and every other the best.

      Thank you for expressing your thoughts.

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