what you need to know about radiotherapy side effects

What does radiation do to your body?

During  radiotherapy your cells are damaged by destroying the genetic material that controls how cells grow and divide. The damage can occur to healthy as well as cancerous cells, but your healthy cells are able to repair themselves during this time, which can result in a variety of side effects. This can occur during or after treatment or it can take a number of months or years to occur.

Side effects of radiotherapy

1. Early Side Effects
Side effects include fatigueskin changesHair loss and mouth problems depending on the area the treatment is given. There are some early side effects that usually occur during or after treatment and are usually short-term, mild, and treatable. They typically disappear within a few weeks after treatment ends.

2. Late Side Effects
Late side effects can take months or even years to develop and affect the tissue in the body where the treatment was given. The risk of late side effects depends on the area treated as well as the radiation dose that was used. To find out if this may happen to you talk to your radiation oncologist about the risk of long-term side effects.

The truth about radiation therapy

You should keep in mind that people react differently to treatment. Side effects can vary depending on the type of cancer and location, the dose of radiation given, and the general health of the individual. Some individuals experience very few or no side effects, while others experience quite a few.

Educating yourself about possible side effects from radiotherapy is the most effective way to make sure you are prepared for treatment. Don't forget to speak with your cancer care team about preventing or alleviating them. For a list of common side effects, please see the following table.  

The effects of radiation therapy

You will experience different side effects depending on where your radiotherapy is given. 

1. Brain
Cognition ChangesNausea and vomitingFatigue, headaches, Hair Loss and blurry Vision. 

2. Chest 
Throat Problems, Skin ChangesFatigue, shortness of breath, Hair Loss, coughing.  

3. Stomach & Abdomen
Hair LossSkin Changes, urinary and bladder problems, Fatigue, diarrhoea, Nausea and vomiting

4. Breast
Swelling - LymphoedemaSkin ChangesFatigueHair Loss, tenderness. 

5. Head & Neck
Less active thyroid gland, Taste ChangesSkin ChangesFatigueMouth ProblemsHair LossThroat Problems

6. Rectum & Pelvis
Fertility problems, sexual problems, HairlossFatigue, diarrhoea, Skin Changes, urinary and bladder problems.


Discover more at - Cancer Treatment Tips and Tricks 

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