What are the most common side effects of radiation therapy?

Levi Zeger asked, updated on November 16th, 2022; Topic: side effects of radiation therapy
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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. Late side effects can take months or even years to develop.

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One may also ask, what are three side effects of radiation?

Late side effects, such as lung or heart problems, may take years to show up and are often permanent when they do. The most common early side effects are fatigue and skin problems. You might get others, such as hair loss and nausea, depending on where you get radiation.

Lastly, how long does it take to get sick from radiation? Initially it is characterized by lack of appetite (anorexia), fever, malaise, nausea and vomiting, which may be maximal within 6 to 12 hours after exposure.

Event, why does radiation make you sick?

Radiation sickness occurs when high-energy radiation damages or destroys certain cells in your body. Regions of the body most vulnerable to high-energy radiation are cells in the lining of your intestinal tract, including your stomach, and the blood cell-producing cells of bone marrow.

What should you avoid during radiation?

What Foods Should I Avoid During Radiation? 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. Your doctor or dietitian can recommend how much salt you should consume based on your medical history.

18 Related Questions Answered

Is radiotherapy worse than chemotherapy?

Since radiation therapy is focused on one area of your body, you may experience fewer side effects than with chemotherapy. However, it may still affect healthy cells in your body.

Is it safe to be around someone receiving radiation therapy?

Some cancer patients who receive radiation therapy worry that their bodies will become “radioactive” after they receive radiation treatment. Their concern is that close physical contact with others could expose them to radiation. “The general answer to this concern is that physical contact is fine,” Snyder says.

What does radiation do to the body?

Exposure to very high levels of radiation, such as being close to an atomic blast, can cause acute health effects such as skin burns and acute radiation syndrome (“radiation sickness"). It can also result in long-term health effects such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

How do you flush radiation from your body?

Decontamination involves removing external radioactive particles. Removing clothing and shoes eliminates about 90 percent of external contamination. Gently washing with water and soap removes additional radiation particles from the skin.

What radiation poisoning feels like?

Death occurs within 2 weeks of exposure. Symptoms are extreme nervousness and confusion; severe nausea, vomiting, and watery diarrhea; loss of consciousness; and burning sensations of the skin. Onset occurs within minutes of exposure. Stage lasts for minutes to hours.

How do you know if you have radiation in your body?

Symptoms of radiation sickness may include: Weakness, fatigue, fainting, confusion. Bleeding from the nose, mouth, gums, and rectum. Bruising, skin burns, open sores on the skin, sloughing of skin.

How long does it take your immune system to recover after radiation?

It might take from 10 days to many months for the immune system to recover completely. Surgery also breaks the skin and can damage mucous membranes and tissue under the skin, causing it to be exposed to germs. The wound caused by surgery (the incision) is a common place for infection.

How Long Can radiation last?

Most people have external beam radiation therapy once a day, five days a week, Monday through Friday. Treatment lasts anywhere from 2 to 10 weeks, depending on the type of cancer you have and the goal of your treatment.

Does radiation make you lose weight?

Weight loss during radiotherapy and one month after treatment. During radiotherapy, 46 (65.7%) patients lost weight, with a mean weight loss of (4.73 ± 3.91) kg, which corresponded to a (6.55 ± 4.84)% net reduction from their baseline weights.

Does radiotherapy hurt?

External-beam radiation therapy Radiation does not hurt, sting, or burn when it enters the body. You will hear clicking or buzzing throughout the treatment and there may be a smell from the machine. Typically, people have treatment sessions 5 times per week, Monday through Friday.

How can you help someone going through radiotherapy?

19 ways to help someone during cancer treatment
  • Take care of the grocery shopping, or order groceries online and have them delivered.
  • Help keep their household running. ...
  • Bring a cup of tea or coffee and stop by for a visit. ...
  • Give the primary caregiver a break. ...
  • Drive the patient to appointments.
  • Do you lose hair with radiotherapy?

    Hair loss is a common side effect of radiotherapy. But unlike hair loss during chemotherapy, it only causes hair loss in the area being treated. Ask your care team to show you exactly where your hair is likely to fall out. Your hair will usually start to fall out 2 to 3 weeks after treatment starts.

    Which comes first chemo or radiation?

    Giving Chemo and Radiation Therapy at Same Time Offers Same Benefits as Sequential Timing. If early-stage breast cancer is going to be treated with both chemotherapy and external beam radiation therapy, chemotherapy usually is given first. Radiation generally starts after chemotherapy is done.

    How many sessions of radiotherapy is normal?

    Most people have 5 treatments each week (1 treatment a day from Monday to Friday, with a break at the weekend). But sometimes treatment may be given more than once a day or over the weekend.

    Do tumors grow back after radiation?

    Normal cells close to the cancer can also become damaged by radiation, but most recover and go back to working normally. If radiotherapy doesn't kill all of the cancer cells, they will regrow at some point in the future.

    Can you drive yourself home after radiation treatment?

    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.

    Why do you have to flush the toilet twice after chemo?

    Small amounts of chemotherapy are present in your body fluids and body waste. If any part of your body is exposed to any body fluids or wastes, wash the exposed area with soap and water. People in your household may use the same toilet as you, as long as you flush all waste down the toilet twice with the lid down.

    Do you need to be isolated after radiation?

    Protecting others from the radiation Being in a room on your own (isolation) protects other people from radiation. Pregnant women and children are not allowed into your room. Other visitors may be able to stay for a short time when it is safe for them to do so.