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Radiation Therapy

Side Effects of Radiation Therapy

Depending on the type of cancer that is being treated, the side effects of radiation therapy may vary. It’s important to speak with your doctor before treatment to fully understand the risks of radiation therapy and the side effects you may experience.

Some patients do not experience side effects while others experience severe discomfort or pain. These are some of the common side effects (remember some may be specific to the location and severity of the diagnosis):

  • Fatigue
  • Skin irritation/problems at the site of external radiation therapy
  • Decreased feeling in the tissue at the site of external radiation therapy
  • Long-term skin effects – darkening, increased pore size, redness due to dilated blood vessels
  • Diarrhea, colitis, problems urinating, incontinence, impotence (prostate cancer)
  • Bleeding where internal radiation therapy seeds are implanted
  • Hair loss (alopecia)
  • Digestive problems
  • Inflammation of mucous membranes in the mouth
  • Lung damage
  • Sexual changes to organs including discomfort, erectile dysfunction, infertility, vaginal itching and vaginal stenosis

Locations for Radiation Therapy