Pharmacology Cancer Drugs #4


The nurse will educate the client taking multiple antineoplastic chemotherapy agents what to report and what is expected and just uncomfortable side effects. Which side effects are just uncomfortable side effects and do not have to be reported? Select all that apply.


  1. Hard, black, tarry stools
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because black, tarry stools can indicate gastrointestinal bleeding. This should be reported immediately to the healthcare provider. Side effects such as waves of mild nausea and taste changes are uncomfortable, but benign side effects.

  2. Waves of mild nausea
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because waves of mild nausea is an expected, benign, yet uncomfortable side effect of most chemotherapy agents. Unrelenting nausea should be reported so the healthcare provider can prescribe effective anti-nausea medications. Severe nausea will prevent the client from eating, which is important.

  3. Taste changes with food
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because taste changes with food is to be expected. It is uncomfortable, but not something that should be reported. It can interfere with proper nutrition so the client should eat food because of the need to eat. Often, room temperature to cold foods can be more saitable.

  4. Increased weight
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because decreased weight generally occurs, not increased. Heart failure may occur with some chemotherapy agents so symptoms such as weight gain, edema, and shortness of breath should be reported immediately.

  5. Fever of 100.5 F
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because a fever of 100.5 should be reported because it indicates infection. Clients receiving chemotherapy agents are very susceptible to infection because the chemotherapy attacks the blood cells, including the white blood cells that protect the body from infection.


Antineoplastic chemotherapy agents can cause many expected, uncomfortable, yet benign side effects, such as mild waves of nausea and taste changes. These do not have to be reported to the healthcare provider.


Learning Outcomes

Antineoplastic chemotherapy agents are cytotoxic and can have many side effects. Some are dangerous and should be reported immediately. These include symptoms of bleeding (black, tarry stools), symptoms of heart failure (weight gain), and symptoms of infection (fever). Some symptoms are just uncomfortable, yet benign if they remain mild, such as mild nausea and taste changes. Various remedies and actions can help alleviate mild symptoms and do not need to be reported. Nevertheless, severe nausea and vomiting should be reported so the client can be adequately medicated.

Test Taking Tip

Pay attention to the question. It is asking for side effects that are expected and just uncomfortable (benign side effects).

Video Rationale