For the Treatment of Cancer
What it is
Bleomycin is chemotherapy given for the
treatment of cancer.
How it is given
It is injected into a vein (IV) over 15
minutes or it may be given as a shot into the
muscle or under the skin.
Common side effects
ξ Fever and chills may occur 2 to 10 hours
ξ Hair loss may occur, but will regrow.
Hair texture may change.
ξ Darkening, peeling, or rash on skin,
especially hands and feet
ξ Dark rings in the nailbed
ξ Pain in area where needle is placed
ξ Mouth sores
Less common side effects
ξ Nausea and vomiting
ξ Tiredness or weakness
ξ Pain and swelling of joints
ξ Weight loss or loss of appetite
ξ Lung changes or damage could occur
ξ An allergic-type reaction may occur up
to 12 hours after treatment.
When to call your doctor
ξ Signs of an allergic reactions: dizziness,
shortness of breath, cough that does not
go away, trouble breathing, wheezing,
fever, chills, confusion, tightness in
chest or throat, rash hives, itching, red,
swollen, blistered or peeling skin,
swelling of mouth, face, lips, tongue or
ξ Sign of liver problems: dark urine,
feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach
or stomach pain, light colored stools,
vomiting or yellow skin or eyes
ξ Signs of kidney problems: unable to pass
urine, change in how much urine is
passed, blood in urine, or a sudden
weight gain or swelling
ξ Signs of lung problems: trouble
breathing, shortness of breath or rapid
breathing, fatigue, dry cough, or
discomfort/worsening of symptoms
when lying on your back
ξ Chills or fever of 100.4 θF or greater
ξ Vomiting or nausea not controlled by
ξ If you require oxygen in an emergency,
tell your health care provider that you
have been taking this drug.
ξ If you have had radiation therapy, you
may have increased skin problems (i.e.,
increased redness or itching) in the areas
that have received radiation. If this
happens, tell your health care provider.
ξ You may be given medicine before
treatment to help prevent an allergic
ξ The risk for lung problems increases
with the amount of bleomycin you
receive over your lifetime. Let your
healthcare provider know if you have
received bleomycin in the past.
ξ Talk to your doctor before going scuba
diving or having surgery. You may need
to have your lungs looked at.
Reproduced with permission from the 1989-2006 United States Pharmacopeial Convention, Inc. Your health care
team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you have any questions.
If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This is not medical advice.
This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each person’s health needs are
different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using this information. If you have
an emergency, please call 911. Printed in 7/2017 by the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority,
Department of Nursing, Madison WI. HF#5541.