Radiotherapy - Side Effects
Radiotherapy is painless. Low dose treatments cause minimal side effects but treatment with high dose can cause variable side effects. But these effects go away in time and there are ways to reduce these effects.
Acute side effects: There is damage to epithelial surfaces of the skin, mouth, pharynx and bowel mucosa. Apart from
- Odema & erythema: swelling of the soft tissues is encountered during radiotherapy. Red rashes are seen in the area of treatment. Surgical intervention may be considered prior to treatment with radiation or the patient is given steroids to reduce swelling
- Infertility: The gonads (ovaries and testicles) are very sensitive to radiation. They will be unable to produce gametes following the radiotherapy
Long term side effects
- Fibrosis: some of the tissues become less elastic due to the treatment
- Hair loss: in case of radiotherapy to the head and neck region there is permanent hair loss
- Dryness: Dry mouth (xerostomia) and dry eyes (xerophthalmia) are the common problems witnessed after radiotherapy
- Secondary malignancies: Radiation is a cause of cancer, and secondary malignancies are seen in a small minority of patients, generally many years after they have received a curative course of radiation treatment.
- Fetal damage is seen in case of pregnant woman
Radiotherapy lowers the
- Skin problems: various levels of skin problems are encountered such as skin pain, sloughing of the outer layer of the skin (desquamation), hyperpigmentation, itching (pruritus) etc
- About Cancer - (http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/help/ default.asp?page=166)
- WHAT IS RADIOTHERAPY? - (http://www.cancernet.co.uk/rxt-what.htm)
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
Dr. Sangamithra. (2021, July 28). Radiotherapy - Side Effects. Medindia. Retrieved on Mar 29, 2023 from https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/radiotherapy_sideeffects.htm.
Dr. Sangamithra. "Radiotherapy - Side Effects". Medindia. Mar 29, 2023. <https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/radiotherapy_sideeffects.htm>.
Dr. Sangamithra. "Radiotherapy - Side Effects". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/radiotherapy_sideeffects.htm. (accessed Mar 29, 2023).
Dr. Sangamithra. 2021. Radiotherapy - Side Effects. Medindia, viewed Mar 29, 2023, https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/radiotherapy_sideeffects.htm.
Do you wish to consult a Radiologist for your problem? Ask your question
7 years experience
Medanta Patna, Patna
11 years experience
Shukla hospital - Ultrasound and Diagnostic Centre, Dharamshala, Kangra
10 years experience
There is opinion saying Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy treatment are not actually killing the cancer cells but the cells are kept [or maybe deactivated] for a period of time... It will strike back. At that point of time, we may be able to do the same treatment/s, but the attack usually more severe than the first. Possibly, the patient may have no energy to go through the second episode of treatment (due to age and/or tiredness and/or cost incurred). If you are not lucky, the second cancer will strike due to the treatment itself. So, instead of killing the cancer cells the treatment may create second cancer. Appreciate comments please
could IMRT done near an organ cause the organ a condition that can not be transplanted if needed?
can i ask what's the difference between conventional fractionated XRT versus stereotactic radiosurgery vs external beam radiation therapy?
My skin is itchy and scratches now and then please advise