Bowel cancer treatment and side effects

You can find lots of useful information about bowel cancer treatment on our website. You can also get information and support from our Ask the nurse service.


Chemo treatment

Hello, I'm new to the forum and wanted some advive. I've just finished my first cycle of chemo and had the normal and some rare side effects. It was pretty awful. I'm due to start my next cycle on Monday and the nurse today said my consultant may lower the does. I'm now worried that will decrease the chance of the cancer returning? I am usually fit and well and think I should just power through and accept the pain rather than lowering the does. I've got three more cycles so I think I should just endure it? Has anyone else had this situation? thank you :x:

Liz Blakelands

@KeyyyBali Hi and welcome to the forum which I hope you find helpful and supportive.

People react to chemo very differently but please follow the consultants advice. If the chemo dose is wrong for you then you can be left with permanent serious side effects. The consultant will alter the dose to suit your body. If the dose had to reduced so much that not effective they would stop the chemo because on balance that would be the best for you.

Sometimes peoples reaction varies a lot between cycles. Your chemo team are the experts.

Hope the next cycle is easier
Liz :x:


Sorry you had so many side effects, @KellyBali . I was luckier, and had fewer side effects. When I asked my oncologist if that meant they could increase the dose, he said no: increasing the dose would not affect the outcome much, and there would be a real risk that my body would not tolerate it. It just would not be worth the risk.
I am not a medical professional, but I think something similar could apply in your case: even if you are willing to endure it, it may just be that your body responds to chemo in a way that makes that too risky - riskier than reducing the dose.
Good luck with the remaining cycles!


It was planned that I would have 8 treatments of 3 week Capox Cycles. I managed 2 before I was wiped of neutropenia and then switched to Folfox. I then had 9 treatments of 2 weeks planned. I have had 100% doses that knocks me out. I have had reduced doses that I can now manage. I have had a cycle without oxaliplatin and now with again. You can see what and when on my profile. I still have 4 cycles to go. My oncologist adjusts every time with the aim that I can cope with the dose, not be permanently damaged by the side effects, be mentally able to carry on and so that my body can recover and avoid long breaks in between cycles. My oncologist’s aim is to get as many treatments in me as possible as this is what will give me the best chance. Where as going full steam with 100% doses and only managing a few will increase my risk of reoccurrence. It can be disheartening when reading other posts about people saying they are struggling through regardless. It gave me a feeling of failure, which in hindsight was silly. We are all different and until they find a way to tailor chemo. We are stuck with the one size fits all way of working out doses then adjusting according to patient reaction. If you are worried, please address this with your oncologist and let them reassure you. I hope your next cycle is better. Jen 💐


Hi, @KellyBali. Welcome to the forum and sorry to hear that you had many side effects, I had my chemo reduced after the first 100% cycle due to side effects. And after the second cycle it was reduced again due very low platelets. The last cycle had only 5FU injections, couldn’t tolerate neuropathy. Now almost 5 months since finished my chemo and still struggling with neuropathy. I think we need to trust our doctors and follow their instructions. And please remember to tell your team about all your side effects. Good luck :x::x:


Thank you everyone, I'm so glad I joined the forum you have really helped put my mind at rest. Ready for Monday!


@KellyBali, you’ve had some great advice. I just wanted to add I started on CAPOX and couldn’t tolerate the capecitabine tablets due to severe diarrhoea so got switched to FOLFOX, which is the same drug but a different form. They also reduced the oxyleplatin to 80% due to severe neuropathy. I’m now just over 2.5 years post operation and currently there is no evidence of disease. Best of luck in the rest of your cycles :x::x::x:


I also had my second dosage lowered due to sickness and diarrhoea- my oncologist told me this is very common to do so please don’t worry but we all do


@KellyBali Just to add to the brilliant advice and info you've received from others on the forum..........I had one Capox cycle and it nearly wiped me out! No way could I have gone through that again and I too felt guilty about not being able to handle it like so many others seem to. So, my oncologist said I could just take the Capecitabine tablets for the next 7 cycles instead. So far, I've been fine on just the tablets, no side effects. I was told that if I experience any severe side effects I most definitely mustn't persevere as it could do more harm than good. Hope you get this sorted.
Jo @Josianna :x::x::x: