What are the most common side effects of radiation therapy?
Early and late effects of radiation therapy The most common early side effects are fatigue (feeling tired) and skin changes. Other early side effects usually are related to the area being treated, such as hair loss and mouth problems when radiation treatment is given to this area.
How does radiation therapy affect your body?
Radiation not only kills or slows the growth of cancer cells, it can also affect nearby healthy cells. Damage to healthy cells can cause side effects . Many people who get radiation therapy have fatigue. Fatigue is feeling exhausted and worn out.
How long does it take to recover from radiation therapy?
Most side effects generally go away within a few weeks to 2 months of finishing treatment . But some side effects may continue after treatment is over because it takes time for healthy cells to recover from the effects of radiation therapy . Late side effects can happen months or years after treatment .
What can you not do during radiation treatment?
Foods to avoid or reduce during radiation therapy include sodium (salt), added sugars, solid (saturated) fats, and an excess of alcohol. Some salt is needed in all diets.
Is radiation worse than chemo?
Radiation therapy involves giving high doses of radiation beams directly into a tumor. The radiation beams change the DNA makeup of the tumor, causing it to shrink or die. This type of cancer treatment has fewer side effects than chemotherapy since it only targets one area of the body.
Does radiation weaken your immune system?
Radiation therapy can potentially affect your immune system , especially if a significant amount of bone marrow is being irradiated because of its role in creating white blood cells. However, this doesn’t typically suppress the immune system enough to make you more susceptible to infections.
What happens after you finish radiation therapy?
For most people, the cancer experience doesn’t end on the last day of radiation therapy . Radiation therapy usually does not have an immediate effect, and it could take days, weeks or months to see any change in the cancer. The cancer cells may then keep dying for weeks or months after the end of treatment .
What is the first sign of too much radiation?
The initial signs and symptoms of treatable radiation sickness are usually nausea and vomiting . The amount of time between exposure and when these symptoms develop is a clue to how much radiation a person has absorbed.
What are the long term side effects of radiation?
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause long-term side effects to the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. These include: Hearing loss from high doses of chemotherapy, especially drugs like cisplatin (multiple brand names) Increased risk of stroke from high doses of radiation to the brain.
How long does it take for radiation to shrink a tumor?
For tumors that divide slowly, the mass may shrink over a long, extended period after radiation stops. The median time for a prostate cancer to shrink is about 18 months (some quicker, some slower).
What does radiation feel like?
Initial symptoms include nausea , vomiting, headache and diarrhoea. These symptoms can start within minutes or days after the exposure. People who have been exposed to high doses can also have skin damage ranging from itching to burns, blisters and ulcers. They may also have temporary hair loss.
Can I drive after radiotherapy?
Will I be able to drive after my radiotherapy treatment ? Almost all patients are able to drive while receiving radiotherapy treatment . However, with some types of cancer, driving may NOT be recommended due to fatigue or strong pain medication. Your physician will be able to address your specific case.
Do you lose weight during radiation treatment?
Radiation and chemotherapy often cause a decrease in appetite. They can also lead to side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and mouth sores, which can affect your ability to eat normally, further contributing to weight and muscle loss .
Can you wear a bra during radiation?
Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing and undergarments in the area being treated. Avoid tight clothing that will rub up against your skin, including underwire bras for women. Use only the moisturizers, creams, or lotions that you have discussed with your radiation oncologist or nurse.
How do I prepare for my first radiation treatment?
Preparing for radiation therapy Find out about quitting. If you smoke, try to quit or cut down before radiation therapy starts as smoking may make the treatment less effective and side effects worse. Explore ways to relax. Organise help at home. Arrange transport. Mention metal implants. Ask about travel assistance. Discuss your concerns. Consider fertility.