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A graphic of a man with cancer treatment side effects in need of supplements from Enlivity
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Mouth, tongue and throat problems such as sores and pain when swallowing, can affect food intake and also lead to inflammation and ulcers (4, 7).

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Regarded as the most common symptom during and after chemotherapy treatment, and can begin as soon as 2 hours after treatment (4, 5).

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30-60% of patients experience smell and taste alterations such as food tasting metallic, like cardboard, too salty, sweet, sour, or having no taste (7).

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A dose-limiting side effect of several chemotherapy agents, particularly those used in colorectal cancer (7).

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Chemotherapy can cause constipation, in addition to certain medicines (such as pain medication), changes in diet, not drinking enough fluids, and being less active (3).

While treatment is available to help patients fight many types of cancer, cancer treatment side effects can make patients very ill and cause a variety of uncomfortable, unpleasant and often times serious side effects. Enlivity’s first-launched product Healios® can help reduce oral mucositis (also known as mouth sores) resulting from chemotherapy and radiation treatment, but it’s important to be aware of other possible side effects of cancer treatments on the digestive system.

Types of Cancer Treatment Side Effects

The number of new cancer patients every year has remained fairly constant over the past decade, but the number remains high. As of 2018(1), roughly 1.7 million Americans have been diagnosed with cancer annually—resulting in more than 16 million Americans living with it, either as current patients, survivors, or those experiencing relapses.

Despite preventative and treatment advances, most cancer therapies still make patients sick. This can lead to patients being unable to continue their treatment or lowering their quality of life(2). A combination of chemotherapy and radiation remain primary therapies, resulting in widely-known and damaging cancer treatment side effects impacting the digestive system(2), including oral mucositis, which typically involves painful ulcers in the mouth and difficulty swallowing.

The following are five of the 10 most common cancer treatment side effects impacting the digestive system(3):

  • Mouth Sores
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Appetite Changes
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation