Side Effects of Radiotherapy
Are Side Effects the Same for Everyone?
The side effects of radiation treatment vary from patient to patient. The side effects depend mostly on the radiation dose and the part of your body that is being treated.
Before beginning your treatment, your doctor will discuss the side effects you might experience as a result of radiation therapy, how long they might last, and how serious they might be.
Side effects may be acute or chronic. Acute side effects are referred to as “early side-effects”. They occur soon after treatment begins and usually disappear within a few weeks of finishing therapy. Chronic side effects may take months or years to develop and are usually permanent.
The most common early side effects of radiation therapy are fatigue and skin changes. Skin changes result from radiation administered to a treatment site. For example, temporary or permanent hair loss may be a side effect of radiation treatment to the head.
Fortunately, most side effects will go away in time. In the meantime, there are ways to reduce discomfort. Be sure to tell your doctor, nurse, or radiation therapist about any side effects that you notice. They can help you treat the problems and tell you how to lessen the chances that the side effects will come back.