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Blood cancer side effects

Side effects are the unwanted effects of blood cancer treatment. Some people experience these effects as a result of the cancer itself, even if they aren't having treatment.

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If you have blood cancer you might experience itchy skin. Itching can be a symptom of blood cancer itself, or it may be caused by the treatment you are having.

Black and white photograph of Simone, with medium length curly hair, looking serious and pulling at one curl.

Hair loss

Blood cancer treatment often causes hair loss as a side effect. It can be an upsetting side effect, but there's lots you can do to feel better about it.

A hand holding a pregnancy test

Fertility problems

Fertility problems can be a side effect of blood cancer treatment. There are things that can help, from preserving fertility before treatment, to emotional and practical support.

A person, alone, looking away with a thoughtful expression

Brain fog

Lots of people with blood cancer get brain fog as a side effect of treatment. There are things you can do to help.

Spinal cord

Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage)

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition of the nerves. It can be painful, but there are lots of things that can help.

Image of a mirror standing on a dressing table.

Coping with changes to your body or appearance

Blood cancer treatment can change the way you look and feel about your body - your body image.

Someone sleeping in bed

Sleep problems

Struggling with sleep is a common side effect of having blood cancer or treatment but there are things you and your doctor can do to help.

Profile photo of psychotherapist Surabhi, who is outside in the sun, wearing glasses and smiling.

Side effects Q&A with a psychotherapist

Lots of people struggle with their emotions when having blood cancer treatment. We spoke to a psychotherapist about what can help.

Close-up of someone with a large bottle of hand sanitiser applying it to their hands.

Infection risk and neutropenia

Because blood cancer affects the body’s immune system, people with blood cancer can be at greater risk of infection.

Woman lying on sofa looking tired.

Sickness and vomiting

Some blood cancers and treatments for blood cancer can make you feel sick (nausea) and, sometimes, cause you to be sick (vomit).

Glass of water with ice cubes

Sore mouth or gut (mucositis)

Mucositis is a common side effect of some blood cancer treatments. It affects your gastrointestinal tract, which includes your mouth and gut.

Rob, who has CML, makes a smoothie with a young family, placing fruit into a blender.

Living well

Practical tips and real stories to help you with everyday life

Living well with or after blood cancer