What to Expect After Chemotherapy for Pancreatic Cancer

The side effects of chemotherapy are different for everyone. They depend on these things:

  • The type of drug you’re taking

  • How often you take it

  • How long your treatment lasts

Your medical oncologist and chemotherapy nurse will talk with you about possible side effects of your treatment. Here are some typical side effects for the most commonly used chemotherapy drugs for pancreatic cancer. Ask your health care team about which ones are most likely to happen to you based on the drugs you are taking.

  • Bruising or bleeding

  • Diarrhea

  • Fatigue

  • Fluid retention

  • Hair loss

  • Heart side effects (rarely)

  • Infections

  • Loss of appetite

  • Lowering of your white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets

  • Mouth sores

  • Nail thickening or discoloration

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Skin dryness and irritation

  • Tingling or numbness in hands and feet

  • Joint or muscle aches

  • Weight gain or loss

These side effects will go away during rest periods between treatments and after your treatment ends. Ask your doctor or nurse for ways to ease these side effects. For instance, there are drugs that ease nausea and vomiting.