The side effects of radiation therapy depend on the area of the body that receives radiation. Find out why doctors recommend it, what it involves, and what side effects it can cause. Radiation not only kills or slows the growth of cancer cells, it can also affect nearby healthy cells. Nausea is rare with radiation therapy to the breast. The risk of long-term problems after radiation therapy is very low, less than 5 percent. Chest:Difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, breast or nipple soreness, shoulder stiffness 3. Side effects vary from person to person, even when given the same type of treatment. Bombarding cancer cells with radiation will cause damage to the cancer cells’ DNA. Order printed copies of this fact sheet from the ASCO Store. Some of them show up quickly, but many wait years to show up. Radiation therapy is called a local treatment. Radiation therapy aimed at the pelvis may cause these side effects: Incontinence, which is when a person is not able to control his or her bladder, Sexual problems for men, such as erectile dysfunction, which is the inability to get or maintain an erection. Some side effects depend on the type and location of where radiation therapy is directed at on the body. This can cause them to break down, after which they are then be carried away from the body. 1. Though this therapy is quite effective, it could be accompanied by side effects that can range from mild to severe. Ask them about your chances of getting each side effect. Unfortunately, this damage isn't isolated to cancer cells alone, and normal cells can be damaged as well. Symptoms may include redness, tenderness, swelling, wet sores, and peeling skin. As is to be expected, though, the treatment does have some side-effects. Radiation therapy to the pelvis can irritate the large and small intestines and cause digestive problems. These are called late effects. Most side effects are temporary, can be controlled and generally disappear over time once treatment has ended.Some side effects may develop later. If both ovaries receive radiation therapy, you may experience infertility. Possible side effects of radiation therapy for colon and rectal cancer can include: Skin irritation at the site where radiation beams were aimed, which can range from redness to blistering and peeling Problems with wound healing … In the case of permitted digital reproduction, please credit the National Cancer Institute as the source and link to the original NCI product using the original product's title; e.g., “Radiation Therapy Side Effects was originally published by the National Cancer Institute.”. Side effects are caused by the cumulative effect of radiation on the cells. Radiation can also give rise to inflammation of the lungs, thus damaging the spinal cord. Head and neck. You may experience no side effects, or you may experience several. Side Effects Vary with Type of Cancer It is also best to protect affected skin from the sun. Both chemo and radiation can have side effects… This is a new type of cancer that develops because of the original cancer treatment. Urinary and Bladder Problems Keep in mind that side effects vary from person to person, even among people receiving the same type of cancer treatment. The side effects of external beam radiation therapy tend to be less severe than the side effects of other prostate cancer treatments. Many patients are surprised to discover that having radiation therapy is less difficult than they expected, though the radiation used to damage cancer in your body can also damage healthy cells. But they can also appear months or years later. And the risk is often smaller than the benefit of treating the first cancer. The side effects from radiation can be lifelong issues that are sometimes life-threatening. 1. Trusted, compassionate information for people with cancer and their families and caregivers, from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the voice of the world’s cancer physicians and oncology professionals. Some people who receive radiation therapy experience dryness, itching, blistering, or peeling. After radiation therapy is completed, what will my follow-up care plan be? The side effects of whole brain radiation therapy may not be noticeable until a few weeks after treatment begins. It is rare and happens when certain types of chemotherapy are given during or soon after external-beam radiation therapy. Like many types of cancer treatment, radiation therapy can cause side effects and have a profound impact on patients. Fatigue. Many of the side effects in the list link to more information in the Side Effects section. Many of my patients suffer from lack of sleep, malnutrition, fatigue and skin irritation, and some aren’t quite sure how to cope.. Some patients experience little to no side effects from radiation, while others have severe side effects. Side effects of radiation typically start showing up around 2 to 3 weeks into therapy. Could this treatment affect my ability to become pregnant or have a child? The radiation oncologist knows how to lower the risk of fibrosis. Sometimes combined with chemotherapy, sometimes used on its own, and even sometimes with a mixture of other traditional treatments, surgery, and drugs.There are several hidden side effects that you may or may not be told to expect. For example, radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy may result in more fatigue. Who should I tell when a side effect appears or gets worse? Doctors may recommend this therapy in combination with others, such as surgery and chemotherapy. Changes in menstruation, such as having menstruation stop, Symptoms of menopause, such as vaginal itching, burning, dryness, and other changes to sexual health for women. High doses of radiation therapy are used to destroy cancer cells. Doctors will often use external radiation therapy for prostate cancer … It can happen all at once or come on slowly. Other people experience more severe side effects. Chemotherapy and radiation are two of the most effective treatments for cancer. Our syndication services page shows you how. This can cause long-term problems such as blood in the urine or painful urination. There can also be emotional side effects, and seeking out mental health support to help with anxiety or stress is important. Your experience will be influenced by a variety of unique factors, such as the location and type of your tumor, your radiation dosage, your general health and any other treatments you may be receiving, such … Side effects are caused by the cumulative effect of radiation … Ask whether there are any restrictions on your regular exercise schedule or other physical activities. You may have even forgotten about your cancer therapy after so long, but some problems can jump in from nowhere leading to certain health issues. Common physical side effects of radiation therapy include: Skin changes. You may experience radiation therapy side effects that are specific to the type of treatment you are receiving based on the type of cancer you have. In this post, I will describe my experience with radiation therapy including tips and side effects. Most side effects are temporary, can be controlled and generally disappear over time once treatment has ended.Some side effects may develop later. This has reduced this treatment's side effects, compared to radiation therapy techniques used in the past. Side effects from radiation are usually caused by irritation of normal tissue in the treatment area. Side effects from radiation are usually caused by irritation of normal tissue in the treatment area. Ask your health care team about ways to take care of yourself during the treatment period, including getting enough rest, eating well, and staying hydrated. You may experience no side effects, or you may experience several. But like other cancer treatments, it often causes side effects. Stomach and abdomen. Fatigue is feeling exhausted and worn out. But some continue, come back, or develop later. If so, how and for how long? But this can vary with individual experiences. Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM), Coping with Your Feelings During Advanced Cancer, Emotional Support for Young People with Cancer, Young People Facing End-of-Life Care Decisions, Late Effects of Childhood Cancer Treatment, Tech Transfer & Small Business Partnerships, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, Milestones in Cancer Research and Discovery, Step 1: Application Development & Submission, How to Work With Your Health Insurance Plan, Questions to Ask about Treatment Clinical Trials, Drugs Approved for Different Types of Cancer, Drugs Approved for Conditions Related to Cancer, Throat changes, such as trouble swallowing, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Everyone’s experience with radiation therapy is different. Lowered sperm counts and reduced sperm activity. Learn about ways to preserve fertility for women. Damage to healthy cells can cause side effects. Radiation therapy after lumpectomy can cause a number of side effects, including: skin changes in the … Radiation can be an effective treatment for breast cancer, but it does have side effects. It is important to talk with your health care team about any side effects you experience so they can find ways to help you. Radiation can cause cystitis which is damage in the inner lining of the bladder. To see which side effects you might expect, find the part of your body being treated in the following chart. If you have a higher dose of radiation, your chances of getting side effects are more likely — but if you get too low of a dose of radiation, it won’t be as effective against the cancer and could leave cancer cells alive. Damage to healthy cells can cause side effects. Pelvic area:Diarrhea, rectal bleeding, incontinence, or bladder irritation In addition, men and women may experi… Not everyone experiences side effects of radiation. Each person experiences different side effects. Side effects from radiation treatment can vary, depending on the area of the body being treated. Side effects from radiation treatment can vary, depending on the area of the body being treated. A study of breast cancer patients treated with radiation found that it was common for treatment side effects such as pain, itchy skin, swelling and fatigue to go unrecognized. See the section on Late Effects to learn more. Who can I talk with if I'm feeling anxious or upset about having this treatment? Lotion may help with skin changes, but be sure to check with your nurse or other health care team about which cream they recommend and when to apply it. Radiation side effects About the study What this means for you. Below is a list of some of the more common late effects. Find out why doctors recommend it, what it involves, and what side effects it can … Radiation can affect your fertility. Pelvis. "This is showing that, for the vast majority of women, the benefits of breast cancer radiation outweigh the risks [to the heart]," Taylor said. Talk with your doctor about any concerns you have about a specific late effect.Problems from surgery. Radiation is a standard part of treatment for a large group of cancer types. Stomach and abdomen:Nausea and vomiting, diarrhea 4. If the cancer is in many areas, sometimes the whole brain is treated with radiation. Preventing and treating side effects is an important part of your overall cancer treatment. Rarely, it may be necessary to wait until the skin heals before continuing chemotherapy. The radiation used to destroy cancer cells can also hurt normal cells in the area that is radiated. Long-term issues generally occur after huge months and years of the treatment being done. Other radiation therapy side effects you may have depend on the part of the body that is treated. Sometimes combined with chemotherapy, sometimes used on its own, and even sometimes with a mixture of other traditional treatments, surgery, and drugs.There are several hidden side effects … Late side effects can happen months to years after you receive radiation therapy. Skin changes from radiation therapy usually go away a few weeks after treatment ends. A person may receive it alongside another treatment or alone. The treatment can be used to slow the spread of cancer and even reverse it in some cases. However, these radiotherapy side effects are less common and occur only when the radiation damages your body. Always tell your health care team when side effects first appear, worsen, or continue despite treatment. Rare short-term side effects Nausea and hair loss. Doctors treat radiation recall with medications called corticosteroids. Talk with your treatment team about what to expect. But people who have radiation therapy to other parts of their body do not usually lose the hair on their head. It can happen all at once or come on slowly. While radiation therapy has improved significantly such that less damage occurs to healthy cells than in the past, some healthy tissues are inevitably exposed.2 Why is follow-up care important for managing side effects of treatment? Before treatment begins, ask what side effects are likely from the specific type of treatment you are receiving and when they may happen. Radiation therapy treats many types of cancer effectively. … However, you may lose some hair under your arm or on the breast or chest area getting radiation (this may be a concern for some men with breast cancer). Oral cryotherapy professionals from Chemo Mouthpiece™ break down the common side effects of tonsil cancer radiation therapy and how to limit them. The side effects of radiation therapy often relate to the type of cancer and the part of the body treated, so it can be useful to read about the type of cancer you have.Or you can call 13 11 20 to learn more.. Below is a list of possible short term side effects… Late side effects of radiation therapy may be permanent. This is called palliative care or supportive care. Patients who receive any type of radiation therapy (external beam or brachytherapy) to treat their prostate cancer can have side effects. Just as the benefits of radiation are gradual, you'll usually see a gradual onset of side effects. Radiation patients often report skin issues such as peeling or blistering skin, as well as … Learning to cope with fatigue is important during cancer treatment, and a combination of cancer treatments (i.e., radiation and chemotherapy) can leave patients extremely tired … Cancer therapies like chemotherapy and radiation can be life-extending and life-saving.But they come with side effects. It may be helpful to talk with an oncology dietitian. Learn more about skin-related side effects. Lymphedema: Lymphedema is swelling of the arm, hand, or chest. The side effects of cancer treatments are so different for everyone, but I found radiation to be MUCH easier than my chemo treatments. Early side effects happen shortly after you receive radiation therapy. For example, radiation therapy to the scalp may cause hair loss. Some people who receive radiation therapy experience dryness, itching, blistering, or peeling. Bombarding cancer cells with radiation will cause damage to the cancer cells’ DNA. Some side effects may be long term. Will special precautions be needed to protect my family and others from radiation exposure during my treatment period? Or even none. This can occur from radiation therapy to the testicles (testes) or prostate gland. People feel fatigue in different ways and you may feel more or less fatigue than someone else who is getting the same amount of radiation therapy to the same part of the body. This 1-page printable PDF gives an introduction to radiation therapy, including an overview of the different types of radiation, what to expect during treatment, possible side effects, terms to know, and questions to ask the health care team. There have been major research advances in radiation therapy in recent years that have made it more precise. Survivors of Hodgkin lymphoma, especially those diagnose… Radiation not only kills or slows the growth of cancer cells, it can also affect nearby healthy cells. Yes. Healthy cells that are damaged during radiation treatment usually recover within a few months after treatment is over. Many patients experience fatigue. How can I take care of the affected skin during my treatment period? Not everyone experiences side effects of radiation. While cancer cells are particularly sensitive to radiation and are irreparably damaged by it, normal tissue cells have the ability to repair themselves after being exposed to radiation. This happens between 2 weeks and 6 months after radiation therapy. Because radiation therapy is a localized treatment, most side effects develop in the treatment area (for lung cancer, that is the chest). If I'm worried about managing the financial costs of cancer care, who can help me? … This article would give you some information on the short-term and long-term side effects. Here are 5 side effects you must know about. Radiation recall is a rash that looks like a severe sunburn. These may include proctitis (rectal inflammation), cystitis (bladder inflammation), urinary or rectal bleeding, narrowing of the rectum or urethra, chronic diarrhea or urinary frequency or urgency, or development of an ulcer in the rectum. Radiation therapy like any other treatment has its side effects too and before getting radiation it is important for the person to speak to the doctor on the possible side effects and how long they will last. Most side effects go away after treatment. Long-Term Side Effects of Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer Studies show that over time, men who have undergone this procedure, tend to develop long-term side effects. The biggest difference between them is how they're delivered. Head and neck cancer includes cancer from the throat up. Side effects of radiation therapy in breast cancer patients are often missed by doctors, U.S. researchers report. Radiation therapy aimed at the stomach or abdomen may cause these side effects: These symptoms will likely go away after treatment. Making changes to your diet may also reduce symptoms. Some occur as soon as treatment begins, while others hit weeks later because of the cumulative effects of chemo medications or exposure to radiation. 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