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Symptom Management:

Symptom Management

Side Effects of Treatment
Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Pain
Fatigue
Appetite Loss
Bladder Disturbances
Incontinence - Urinary
Bleeding
Constipation
Diarrhea
Dryness of the Mouth
Fluid and Electrolyte Imbalances
Hypercalcemia
Flu-like Syndrome
Hair Loss
Infection
Anemia
Itching
Lymphedema
Menopausal Symptoms
Nausea & Vomiting
Neurological Disturbances
Spinal Cord Compression
Peritoneal Effusions
Shortness of Breath
Skin Conditions
Sleep Problems (Insomnia/Oversleeping)
Sore Mouth
Swallowing
Bone Metastases
Coping
Anxiety
Depression
Grief
Sexuality Issues
Sexual Dysfunction
Pain

Arthralgias and Myalgias

It is very important that you read and understand the following information. If you have any questions or want more information, please contact the nurse or the physician.

Symptom and Description Pain in the large joints of the arms and legs can occur any time from 48-72 hours after you receive chemotherapy. When in your joints, this pain is called arthralgia, whenin your muscles, myalgia. It is a side effect of your chemotherapy. This discomfort occurs in the large joints such as the hips, the knees, or the shoulders and can range from a mild ache to severe pain. This muscle and joint pain can be more noticeable if colony stimulating factors or growth factors (G-CS For GM-CSF) are a part of your treatment. You also may have trouble getting out of bed or a chair. This side effect may not occur with every treatment; you may experience pain during one treatment and not feel any aches after the next treatment.

You are at risk for this side effect if you had treatment with a drug that caused numbness or tingling in your hands or feet such as the drugs:

  • cisplatin
  • vincristine
  • vindesine
  • etoposide
  • paclitaxel
  • docetaxel
  • thalidomide
  • oxaliplatin
    or
  • if you have diabetes
  • if you have a history of alcohol use
  • if you have a history of arthritis

Learning Needs You need to learn how to manage this side effect at home and understand when to notify the doctor or nurse. Your physician can prescribe medicines that will relieve this side effect.

Prevention It is difficult to prevent this symptom. Remember the symptoms don't appear until 48-72 hours after treatment and can last from 4-7 days. Some helpful hints to reduce the symptoms include:

Management These are some ideas on how to manage these side effects at home.

  • Take the medication prescribed by your doctor.
  • Get plenty of rest, and plan your activities to include rest periods.
  • A heating pad or hot water bottle may help give comfort to the achey area. Keep the pad or bottle covered with a towel when putting it next to your skin. Use for short periods, 510 minutes several times per day.
  • Keep your nutrition up by eating healthy, regular meals.
  • Relaxation techniques, such as guided imagery and biofeedback may be helpful.
  • Taking a warm bath or whirlpool bath is comforting.
  • Massage therapy to the affected areas may help. Be sure to ask your doctor or nurse for more information if you are interested in trying any of these measures and you need additional information.
  • Your doctor or nurse may suggest glutamine nutritional supplements.

Follow-up It may be helpful to keep a record of the muscle or joint pain, recording when it starts, what makes it better, and when it goes away. Bring this information with you when you visit the doctor or nurse.

If at any time you are uncomfortable and the discomfort does not go away, please call the doctor or nurse.

Empower yourself with information.  Knowledge is power.
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2004 2nd Cancer Opinion USA