Side Effects of Radiation Therapy

Friday, October 14, 2011

Radiation therapy can cause side effects by damaging normal, healthy cells near the cancer. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about these side effects and how to treat them 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 destroys the cancer cells, but it can also harm healthy cells.

Side effects depend on the location of the cancer and the amount of radiation you need. Most side effects last only a short time and will go away after the treatments are done. Some side effects can last for a time after your treatments are done.

Some possible side effects and their treatments include:

Depression and fatigue. Get at least eight hours of sleep per night and plenty of exercise.

Dry and irritated skin. Use mild, unscented soaps or prescription creams.

Nausea and vomiting. Avoid spicy foods and limit alcohol and caffeine. Smaller, more frequent meals may prevent nausea.

Painful urination. Drink plenty of water. Prescription medicines may lessen the pain.

Dry and painful mouth. Lozenges and mouth rinses can help increase your saliva. Medicines to numb the mouth may also help.

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