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Managing Side Effects

Gynecologic cancer treatment may cause side effects that last for a few weeks or for years after treatment is over. At Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Health System, we help you manage these side effects so you can lead a healthy life after cancer treatment.

Radiation Therapy Side Effect Treatment

Many women with gynecologic cancers undergo radiation therapy to their pelvis. Unfortunately, there are many important structures in the pelvis, including your colon, bladder, and other organs, that can be damaged by radiation, leading to side effects.

Digestive Problems

About half of all gynecologic cancer survivors experience some digestive problems after treatment. They may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Diarrhea
  • Incontinence
  • Trouble absorbing nutrients

At Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, our registered dietitians provide specialized support for cancer patients. They can help design a meal plan that is right for you to improve digestive problems and ensure you get the nutrients you need. You may need to take multivitamins and supplements if you have trouble absorbing nutrients.

You may also take medicines to help stop diarrhea or improve incontinence. Always talk to your provider about these issues so they can help you find a solution.

Urinary Tract Problems

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can cause urinary tract problems. They may irritate your bladder or increase your risk for a urinary tract infection.

Antibiotics can treat urinary tract infections, but you can also take steps to prevent these infections. For instance, you may go to the bathroom more frequently and take showers instead of baths.

Dietary changes can also help with urinary tract problems. Drinking more fluids can help your bladder health. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco can also improve bladder health. 

Psychosocial Side Effects

Gynecologic cancer can change the way you feel about your body and affect your sexual health. You may feel depressed, anxious, or tired both during and after treatment. 

At Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, we offer many support groups to help you meet others who understand your experience and can give you advice. We can also help you connect with national organizations that support patients with your specific type of cancer. These support groups are a chance for you to voice your challenges and fears in a safe, caring environment.

Your oncologist may also recommend that you see a psychologist or psychiatrist who specializes in caring for patients after cancer treatment. These therapists can help you improve your mental and sexual health after treatment.