Side Effects of Radiation

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Radiation therapy can cause side effects by damaging normal, healthy cells near the cancer. Dr. Edward Hill explains more about these possible side effects in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Radiation therapy is a treatment for cancer. It is done by a machine that makes high-energy waves that destroy cancer cells. Radiation therapy is often used for cancers of the skin, head and neck, breast, prostate, cervix and colon. It can be used to shrink the cancer before you have surgery to remove it. It may also be used with chemotherapy, which is medicine given through an IV.

Radiation destroys the cancer cells, but it can also harm healthy cells. Your doctor will plan your treatments to lessen the damage to healthy cells, but there may still be side effects.

Side effects depend on the location of the cancer and the amount of radiation you need and may include:

Depression and fatigue

Dry and irritated skin

Nausea and vomiting

Painful urination

Diarrhea and

Dry, painful mouth.

Most side effects last only a short time and will go away after treatments are done. Some side effects may linger a while longer.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.