Lonsurf is usually used as a third-line chemotherapy drug, after a patient has had tumor growth on FOLFOX and FOLFIRI or FOLFOXIRI. Studies have shown that Lonsurf may be more effective when given with Avastin. So sometimes it can be difficult to tell which side effects come from which medications!
Lonsurf can come along with a bunch of unpleasant side effects. If you’re on a Lonsurf regimen, here are some side effects you might experience:
Whew, sounds like a lot, right? Remember that you likely won’t experience all of these side effects — because everyone’s bodies are different.
If you ever feel like you can’t manage your side effects and symptoms, don’t be afraid to speak with your doctor about pre-meds or complimentary meds to manage them. You can also ask for a referral to the palliative care specialist or team at your cancer center. It’s important to note that palliative care is not the same as hospice care. Palliative care helps patients manage symptoms, and it can be extremely helpful for many people.
Remember that it’s important to check in with your healthcare team before starting any supplements, complementary therapies or fasting regimens. These treatments might not be appropriate for everyone — and some may even interfere with chemotherapy.
Let’s get into some side effects you might experience…
Click here to go to the Lonsurf website. There are lots of patient resources, including information about the drug, a brochure for carepartners, a starter kit, and other helpful resources.
This is an extremely common chemotherapy side effect. Nausea usually lasts for a few days to a week after treatment.
Lonsurf can cause loose bowels. You may experience this at any point during your treatment, even up to 10 days post-treatment.
Some patients report experiencing stomach cramps with Lonsurf.
When you first learned about starting chemotherapy, you might have been worried about losing your beautiful hair! However, colorectal cancer patients undergoing chemo often experience hair thinning, not complete hair loss.
Check out this link from the National Cancer Institute.
Chemotherapy can change the way your body perceives tastes and smells, causing aversions to things you usually don’t mind! These changes are temporary, and will likely go away after chemo has finished or if you have a chemo break.
Feeling tired is one of the most common side effects for people going through chemotherapy. It’s important to remember that your body is going through a lot.
Lonsurf can be particularly hard on blood counts and platelets, so fever may be a common side effect.
White blood cells (WBC) are used to fight off infections. Low white blood cell counts can increase your risk of infection, and make you feel short of breath.
Your healthcare team will monitor your WBC counts to make sure they don’t get too low. If they are, your treatment might be delayed by a week or two, to give your body a chance to recover. Treatment delays should be avoided whenever possible, but they are common.
Talk to your team about any concerns you have, but know that an occasional chemo delay should not affect your long-term prognosis or the overall effectiveness of your treatment.
Chemotherapy will likely decrease your red blood cell (RBC) counts. This can cause fatigue and shortness of breath. Your healthcare team will monitor your RBC levels to make sure they don’t go too low. Many patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer may already have anemia due to iron deficiency from tumors in the gastrointestinal tract bleeding. Chemo can worsen preexisting anemia.
Chemotherapy drugs can cause your platelet levels to drop. Platelets help your blood clot — so low levels can cause bruising, nosebleeds and sensitive gums.
It’s a good idea to keep a journal or notes about your side effects, so you can discuss them with your oncologist at your next appointment. This can help you advocate for changes to your pre-meds and home meds as necessary. Be sure to discuss possible side effects with your oncologist, so you know what’s normal and what might be concerning. Before your first chemo treatment, you should have been given a 24-hour phone number to call in case of severe symptoms.
Some of these symptoms include:
Join one of our COLONTOWN Facebook groups:
Want to join? Fill out the registration form here.