Cancer Center

Phone Numbers

General Cancers Nurse Navigator
(803) 791-2289
(803) 791-2617
Support Group Network
(803) 791-2800
Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator
(803) 791-2521
(800) 635-0858
Women's Imaging
(803) 791-2486
Medical Social Services
(803) 791-2430
Lexington Radiation Oncology
(803) 791-2575
Radiology Department
(803) 791-2460
Medical Day Infusion Center
(803) 791-2287
Manager for Cancer Programs
(803) 936-8050

Managing Side Effects

Coping with Cancer Together

This group is open to anyone diagnosed with cancer. Explore and discuss varied topics over refreshments. Come as you are - hospital gowns welcomed!

11:30 a.m.

Granby Room (Ground Floor by the South Tower Elevators)
Main Campus

(803) 939-8774

Physical & Emotional Effects of Treatment

Different types of treatment — and different doses — can lead to different side effects. Some patients experience few side effects, while others experience many. Working with your healthcare team can help prevent troublesome side effects or develop strategies to cope with them.

Common Side Effects


Some feel a little tired, while others experience severe fatigue. Anemia, pain, loss of appetite, sleep quality, stress, medications or pain can make fatigue feel even worse.

  • Aim for at least eight hours of sleep.
  • Eat and drink smaller servings, more often.
  • Rest during the day.
  • Stay active but don’t overdo it.

Skin & Fingernail Issues

Nails may turn yellow, appear brittle or even fall off. Skin dryness, peeling or rashes are often minor but painful. Skin sensitivity may increase even if skin is dark.

  • A mild soap washing or dusting of cornstarch can tame inflamed skin.
  • Use SPF 15 or higher sunscreen and avoid sun exposure and tanning beds.
  • Keep face clean and dry to help control acne flare-ups.
  • Try nail-strengthening products to improve fingernail health.

Nausea & Vomiting

The body releases a natural chemical in response to chemotherapy. That chemical can make you feel queasy.

  • Eat bland, easy-to-digest foods.
  • Adjust when and how much you eat.
  • Small bites of popsicles or ice chips can help you stay hydrated.
  • Figure out an effective eating schedule.

Loss of Hair

Chemotherapy can cause hair loss or changes to hair as it regrows. Patients can experience everything from no hair loss to complete hair loss. Eyebrows, nose hairs and eyelashes may fall out too.

  • Be gentle to your scalp and use mild shampoo.
  • Don’t dye or use harsh products or treatments.
  • Sometimes hair loss is easier to manage if you cut your hair short or shave your head. This gives you more control and can make the adjustment less dramatic.
  • Becky’s Place Boutique provides wig fittings and other fashionable options for those struggling with hair loss.
  • In the event of hair loss, do what feels best for you.

Other Side Effects

There are certainly many other potential side effects that may be faced during cancer treatment including pain or bowel, mouth, throat and sexual issues. Always inform your healthcare team about side effects being experienced. In the case of severe side effects, treatment may be adjusted or suspended.