This type of radiation therapy targets only the tumor. However, it will affect some of the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. Although most people don't feel pain when each treatment is given, the effects of treatment build up slowly over time and can include discomfort, skin changes, or other side effects, depending on where in the body the treatment is given. Interrupting 2 days in treatment each week allows the body some time to repair this damage.
Some of the effects may not go away until the treatment period is complete. Tell health professionals if you are experiencing side effects. Learn more about side effects of radiation therapy. External radiation takes a few weeks to work, but 7 out of 10 people say they have had at least half the pain after treatment.
For some people, it completely eliminates pain. Radiologists plan treatments very carefully to reduce side effects. While some patients have few or no side effects from radiation therapy, others experience some discomfort. Side effects are usually short term and can be treated.
Regardless of the type of therapy you receive, our doctors and nurses are trained to help manage side effects. It's very important to stay still during radiation treatments. You don't need to hold your breath. You won't feel anything during treatment.
You won't see, hear, or smell the radiation. You may have radiation therapy to control pain caused by secondary bone cancer. It can be combined with other types of treatment, depending on the type of cancer you have. If you receive internal radiation therapy with seed implants, talk to your cancer care team about safety precautions during sexual intercourse.
The risk of throat changes depends on the amount of radiation you receive, whether you also receive chemotherapy, and whether you use tobacco and alcohol while receiving radiation therapy. You may have different side effects depending on the type of cancer you have and where in your body radiation therapy is given. Coughing, often a symptom of the disease, can be caused by cancer treatment, especially radiation to the chest. Radiation pneumonitis is inflammation of the lungs that can be caused by radiation therapy to the chest (or, less commonly, to the breast).
This medication can be used in people with head and neck cancer to reduce mouth problems caused by radiation therapy. At checkups, your doctor will talk to you about how you feel, monitor you to see how well the radiation has worked, and look for any signs of cancer. This is not as common today as it was in the past, because modern radiation therapy equipment allows doctors to better focus radiation beams on the area with cancer, with less effect on other areas. Radiation not only kills cancer cells, but it can also damage healthy cells in the glands that produce saliva and the moist lining of the mouth.
The higher the dose of radiation (and the younger the person), the more likely it is to occur, but the overall risk is small and should not prevent people who need radiation from receiving it. The American Cancer Society offers programs and services to help you during and after cancer treatment. Another concern with radiation therapy is that it could cause new cancer to form in the part of the body that was treated. Fox Chase Cancer Center offers a Women's Sexual and Menopausal Health Program and a Men's Sexual Health Program and an Erectile Dysfunction Clinic to help patients adapt to changes during and after cancer treatment.
The two side effects that most commonly affect patients receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer are fatigue and skin changes. Many people experience fatigue, sensitive skin at the site of radiation exposure, and emotional distress during radiation therapy. Possible side effects of radiation therapy depend on the area of the body being treated and the amount of radiation being used. .