Radiation therapy is a way to treat cancer. There are many reasons why radiation is used. The reason and how it is given depends on your treatment plan.
Recovery times differ for each person. Comfort measures depend on the problems you have.
Radiation can cause side effects. The most common are feeling tired, or diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. You may also notice changes to your skin, mouth, or throat.
Your care team will help you manage these problems. Examples include:
Talk to your care team as soon as problems appear. This will help you better control them.
Diarrhea, mouth sores, nausea, or vomiting can make it hard to eat or drink. Try to get as much nutrition as you can to stay strong. General steps include:
A dietitian will help you plan meals and choose foods based on the problems you have.
Try to move around as much as you can, even if it is just for short walks. In general:
Medicine will help ease symptoms such as pain, nausea, or skin rash.
If you are taking medicine:
Your doctor will check on your progress. You may have tests to track how the treatment is going. It may be changed based on the test results. It is important to go to all recommended appointments.
Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
Coping with radiation treatment. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/radiation/coping.html. Updated October 26, 2017. Accessed March 20, 2019.
Managing side effects. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects.html. Accessed March 20, 2019.
Radiation dermatitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T922117/Radiation-dermatitis. Updated June 11, 2018. Accessed March 20, 2019.
Radiation therapy to treat cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/radiation-therapy. Updated January 8, 2019. Accessed March 20, 2019.
Side effects of cancer treatment. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects. Updated August 9, 2018. Accessed March 20, 2019.
Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Nicole Meregian, PA Last Updated: 3/20/2019