Side Effects of Radiation Therapy
Information about the potential side effects of radiation therapy treatments and how to manage them.
What are the side effects of radiation therapy?
The side effects of radiation therapy vary from patient to patient and depend upon what type of cancer you have, where your treatment doses are located, and how healthy you were prior to starting treatment. Radiation is used to kill cancer cells and may also damage healthy cells in the process. Damage to healthy cells results in side effects.
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) Side Effects (Lung, Liver, Prostate, and Pancreas)
This article explains the common side effects of SBRT to the lung, liver, prostate, and pancreas.
Radiation pneumonitis is inflammation of the lungs caused by radiation therapy to the chest. This article describes the symptoms, factors that increase the risk, how it is diagnosed, and how it is treated.
Skin Reactions From Radiation
Information on caring for your skin during radiation therapy.
Esophagitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the esophagus that causes pain and discomfort with swallowing, or gives you the sensation of a lump in the throat. Esophagitis is a common side effect of cancer treatment that can be caused by radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Mucositis (Mouth Sores) & Oral Care Tip Sheet
Mucositis may also be called mouth sores, oral mucositis, or esophagitis. It can range in severity from a red, sore mouth and/or gums to very painful open sores, causing a patient to be unable to eat. This article provides information about mucositis symptoms, oral care, tips to reduce pain and treatment.
Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
Dry mouth, called xerostomia, may be caused by radiation therapy given to the head and neck area or by medications used to treat the cancer or side effects you are experiencing. This hand-out answers questions about and offers tips for coping with dry mouth (xerostomia) resulting from radiation treatment.
Hair Loss (Alopecia) From Radiation Treatment
This side effect handout answers questions about and offers tips for coping with hair loss caused by radiation therapy.
Taste Changes During Cancer Therapy
Taste changes can occur in people being treated for cancer with chemotherapy and/or radiation. This hand-out provides tips for managing taste changes associated with cancer and its treatment.
Diarrhea After Radiation
Radiation treatment can cause harm to healthy tissues in the area being treated. When the bowel is in the treatment area, this damage can lead to ongoing diarrhea, incontinence, and urgency.
Vaginal Dilators for Radiation Therapy
Instructions and tips for using dilators after pelvic radiation therapy.
Tips for Dealing with Urinary Incontinence (for women)
An introduction to urinary incontinence, tips to cope with UI and exercises to strengthen the muscles that control urinary flow.
Urinary retention is the inability to urinate or to fully empty the bladder.
Altered Breast Size
In some patients with breast cancer, the treated breast can have changes in size or shape following surgery or radiation therapy for breast cancer.
Lack of Sensation in Breast
Lack of sensation in the breast is loss of feeling in the breast that can be caused by surgery or radiation.