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When do chemo side effects kick in??

12 Sep 2017 08:25

Hi everyone,

I have breast cancer and am on an 8 cycle course of chemo ('AC' for the first 4 cycles and then 'T' for the final 4) It is now the day after my first dose and apart from feeling tired and a bit nauseous I don't feel so bad. When do the really bad side effects kick in?? Do I really have to take all the steroids and other drugs if I don't feel so bad? Interested to hear other experiences...


Re: When do chemo side effects kick in??

12 Sep 2017 10:48 in response to Bossacapella


Hi Bossacapella,

Welcome to Cancer Chat.

I am afraid that I have never had chemotherapy, so know little about the side-effects. From what I've read on this site, they seem to vary widely. In respect of whether or not you have to take all your drugs, why not ask your care team? I expect that this is a common question and the staff in chemo department should be able to answer this for you.

Why don't you use the search engine on the blue band at the top of this page? Pop in 'Chemotherapy side-effects' in the search box then click search. This should bring up previous posts on the topic. There are 4,000+  posts, so you should find some useful information here.

Please let us know how you get on. There is always someone here for you whenever you feel like talking.

Kind regards,

Jolamine xx

Re: When do chemo side effects kick in??

12 Sep 2017 17:06 in response to Bossacapella

Hubby was fine for first few doses then it kicked in the more he had.   Chemo is meant to build up as each course is done.  You need to take the advice given, not do your own thing!  The team will guide you in any problems and contact your nurse if you have effects you are not happy with.   Good luck, we are now through it and hubby is 71 years old. Caz

Re: When do chemo side effects kick in??

12 Sep 2017 17:27 in response to Bossacapella

Hi, I've not long finished my cycle of chemotherapy for lung cancer. I had various side effects but class myself very lucky they were only slight ones. I guess the hair loss after the 2nd dose was the worst not that it bothered me, I also had like a metal taste which rained food( fresh pineapple helped) and of course nausea but I found eating helped even when I didn't want to eat ( I gained 8 kilos  lol)

everyone has different side effects  those were mine. I spoke to others at chemo sessions amd each had a different story to tell.  My advice is stay positive and do what needs to be done and find your own personal way of dealing with what effects you have..... use my motto I have cancer cancer doesn't have me x


good luck and you can do this 


Re: When do chemo side effects kick in??

13 Sep 2017 05:17 in response to Bossacapella

Hi, I'm in same situation but I'm 2 weeks into first cycle of chemotherapy, I feel like I'm kind of stuck just waiting for these side effects to hit me like a brick.. part from a bit sickness & tiredness I have been ok. Had occasional meal & nights out even a few drinks, waiting for the unknown to happen I found harder. Although yesterday I had noticed my hair is becoming a lot thinner, mainly when I styling it so I'm avoiding over washing, hair drying, straightening, Im now gentler brushing  & remove bobbles/grips etc.. I hope everything goes okay Vicki x

Re: When do chemo side effects kick in??

8 Mar 2018 09:52 in response to A1biexx
Hi , this is my first post though all of this ☺️ Am only 7 wk into diagnose already had mastectomy n had my first chemo yesterday like u I thought no point n worrying what it’s going to b like till it happens but god last nite n today the sick feeling is killing me plus the headache is bad is this normal should I call the ward feeling sad

Re: When do chemo side effects kick in??

9 Mar 2018 15:28 in response to scottishbird

Hi Scottishbird,

im due my 2nd chemo this Tuesday in Glasgow.

After 1st chemo I didn’t feel any different and took the anti sickness meds anyway.

Only pain I felt was some joint pain, not bad enough to take pain meds so I’m hoping

the second lot of chemo is much the same. Today my hair is falling out rapidly....cropping it tonight.  Sorry you’re feeling sad and I know exactly what you mean, might be a good idea to speak to nurse about side effects.


Re: When do chemo side effects kick in??

9 Mar 2018 19:14 in response to Bossacapella


I'm afraid the old answer "it depends" is valid here. Similar patients on exactly the same chemo can have different chemo experiences. Keep taking the anti side effect drugs - the fact you aren't having side effects probably means they are working! 

Goid luck


Re: When do chemo side effects kick in??

20 Mar 2018 18:06 in response to davek


I'm about to have cycle 5 of my chemo tomorrow. I must say, I was pretty nervous going into it all, especially as I'm emetophobic. However, I had great anti-sickness pills from my consultant (after a little experiementation) and other than hair loss (day 17 after first chemo), the side effects haven't got much worse since cycle 2. My first cycle seemed quite easy apart from nausea. 

Since then, I do get an odd taste, dry mouth (very dry sometimes), restless sleep, bone pain (from the GCSF injections), stomach cramps (after coming off steroids) and ongoing nausea. BUT... while this sounds like a long list, nothing has been that awful and I find I can manage.

Hopefully yours will be the same and you will not get significantly worse with each cycle. 

I was worried it was cumulative, but I wouldn't say that necessarily. Each cycle has differences, but all in all it's managable.

I hope all is going well for you so far.