Radiation therapy, or radiation treatment, may be part of your treatment plan if you have cancer. Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors that can’t be surgically removed or treated with chemotherapy. There are some common possible side effects of radiation therapy, but side effects vary from person to person. This is because side effects can depend on the type of cancer, its location, the radiation therapy dose, your general health, and other factors. It is important to talk to your healthcare team about any concerns you have so they can adjust your treatment and manage your side effects.
A less common effect of radiation therapy is skin changes. Radiation can affect the skin, leading to dryness, itching and peeling, sores that won’t heal, burns and blisters. Dry skin is a very common result of radiation therapy. It may also cause your skin to become thicker or hairless where it was exposed to radiation. The affected area may itch or burn, and you may need to apply creams or ointments for relief or use moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.
Radiation therapy can cause fatigue, which is a feeling of exhaustion or lack of energy. Fatigue may be more severe when you first start radiation therapy, and it may get better as you continue treatment. If your fatigue continues to be a problem for a long time, talk to your doctor about possible treatments for this side effect.
Nausea and vomiting
Some common side effects of radiation therapy include nausea and vomiting. A few suggestions to help reduce these symptoms is to avoid smells that may trigger nausea, don’t eat too much, and stay hydrated. Avoiding foods with strong odors, such as garlic, onions, or spices can also help reduce these symptoms. Eating small meals every few hours instead of one large meal can also cut down on feelings of nausea and vomiting.
One potential radiation therapy side effect is diarrhea. This can happen when radiation therapy affects the cells that line your intestines or when it affects your digestive system. In some cases, radiation-induced diarrhea can be treated with over-the-counter medications, but if it persists for more than a few weeks, you should contact your healthcare provider.
A common side effect of radiation therapy is that it can change your appetite. Some people find themselves wanting to eat all the time, others may find themselves not being able to stomach food like they used to. Some people find that their taste buds have changed and foods they once loved don’t taste as good anymore, while others might find that their sense of smell has decreased which makes foods less appetizing.
Radiation therapy to treat cancer can cause some temporary weight loss. This is because it affects how your body processes food and how much you eat. Your healthcare provider will be able to tell you more about what to expect and what you can do about this side effect.
Some of the most commonly reported radiation therapy side effects include mouth sores, dry mouth, and difficulty swallowing. Patients may also experience a change in their sense of taste or smell. One way to reduce these symptoms is to start taking care of your teeth and mouth before radiation therapy begins.
There are some common possible side effects of radiation therapy, but side effects vary from person to person. This is because side effects can depend on the type of cancer, its location, the radiation therapy dose, your general health, and other factors. It is important to talk to your healthcare team about what you should expect during and after treatment. One possible effect is trouble swallowing because radiation affects a part of your throat called the esophagus that moves food from your mouth to stomach.
It is not uncommon for people to experience a sore throat after radiation therapy. This is often due to irritation of tissue from the radiation, and can be treated with over-the-counter medicines like lozenges, throat sprays, and painkillers. In rare cases, though, it can signal infection or other complications that require medical attention. Common treatment options include antibiotics and steroids. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have concerns about a sore throat following radiation treatment.
Some common possible side effects of radiation therapy are hoarseness and dry throat. Radiation therapy to the head can cause you to lose your sense of taste. Radiation treatment to other parts of your body, such as your chest or pelvis, can cause weight gain or nausea.