Radiation therapy treats cancer by using high-energy waves to kill tumor cells. The goal is to destroy or damage the cancer without hurting too many healthy cells. The ones you have depend on the type of radiation you get, how much you get, the part of your body that gets treatment, and how healthy you are overall. You may have few or only mild side effects from your treatment; someone else may radiation and lung cancer a lot of problems or very severe ones. If the therapy makes you uncomfortable, speak up.
If you keep your health team informed, they can help you get through treatment. There are two kinds of radiation side effects: They may start during or right after treatment and last for several weeks after it ends, radiation and lung cancer, but then they get better. 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. The fatigue you feel from cancer and radiation therapy is different from other times you may have felt tired. It also can seem different from day to day, which makes it hard to plan around it. She might be able to help. There are also things you can do to feel better:. Keep in mind that the fatigue from radiation therapy will probably go away within a few weeks after your treatment ends.
The way external radiation therapy affects your skin is similar to what happens when you spend time in the sun. It may look red, sunburned, or tanned. It may also get swollen or blistered. Your skin may also become dry, flaky, or vitamin d and statin drugs. Or it may start to peel.
Your skin should start to feel better a few weeks after therapy ends. But when it heals, it may be a darker color. Only people who get radiation to the scalp or the brain may have hair loss. In most cases, your hair will grow back after therapy stops, radiation and lung cancer, but it may be thinner or have a different texture, radiation and lung cancer.
Some people choose to cut their hair short before treatment begins to make less weight on the hair shaft. If you lose hair on top of your head, radiation and lung cancer, be sure to radiation and lung cancer a hat or a scarf to protect your scalp from the sun when you go outside. Radiation therapy to the head, neck, or parts of the digestive system can make you lose your appetite. Before you start radiation to your head or neck, see your dentist for a thorough exam. Radiation can cause problems in your mouth that include:.
Tell your cancer team about any of these problems so they can help you feel better. To help manage these side effects:. Radiation therapy to the head can sometimes cause hearing problems. One reason might be that it hardens the wax in your ears. Let your doctor know if you have trouble hearing. Radiation to the head, neck, and any part of the digestive tract can cause nausea and vomiting.
Let your doctor know if that happens. She can give you medicine to control it. Also, you radiation and lung cancer be able to learn relaxation techniques and biofeedback to help control and reduce feelings of nausea. Radiation therapy to your belly can cause diarrhea, which typically starts a few weeks after therapy begins. The doctor will likely prescribe medications to help control it.
It also can stop periods and cause other symptoms of menopause. For men, radiation to the testes can affect sperm count and how well they work. But if you want to have kids later on, you should talk with your doctor to see if you should use a sperm bank before treatment begins. Treatment to the pelvis can make sex painful for some women and can also cause scarring that makes the vagina less able to stretch, radiation and lung cancer.
In men, radiation can affect the nerves and blood vessels that control erections. Your doctor can help you understand what might happen and how you can handle it.
But your sex drive will usually come back after treatment stops. Talk openly with radiation and lung cancer partner about ramipril and lipitor reduce plaque you can stay close. Make sure you listen to their concerns, too. But not everyone will have them. These problems happen when radiation damages your body. For example, scar tissue can affect the radiation and lung cancer your lungs or your heart works.
Bladder, radiation and lung cancer, bowel, fertility, and sexual problems can start after radiation to your belly or pelvis. Another possible late effect is radiation and lung cancer second cancer. Doctors have known for a long time that radiation can cause cancer. And research has shown that radiation treatment for one cancer can raise the risk for developing a different cancer later. Factors that can affect that risk include the amount of radiation used and the area that was treated.
How Can I Handle Fatigue? There are also things you can do to feel better: Take care of your health. Get plenty of rest, be as active as you can, and eat the right foods, radiation and lung cancer. Work with a counselor or take a class at your cancer treatment center to learn ways to conserve energy, reduce stress, and keep yourself from focusing on the fatigue.
Save your energy for the activities that are most important to you. Keep a balance between rest and activities. Too much bed rest can make you more tired. Ask for help from family and friends.
If fatigue is interfering with your job, talk with your boss or HR department and ask about taking some time off from work or making adjustments in your schedule.
Be gentle with your skin: To clean it, use a mild soap and let lukewarm water run over it. Avoid putting anything hot or cold on the area unless the doctor tells you to. Ask your doctor before you use any type of ointment, oil, lotion, or powder on your skin. Ask about using corn starch to help relieve itching. Stay out of the sun as much as possible. Cover the area getting radiation with clothing or hats to protect it. Ask the doctor about using sunscreen if you must be outdoors. Other early side effects you might have usually depend on where you get the radiation.
Eating Problems Radiation therapy to the head, neck, or parts of the digestive system can make you lose your appetite. Try eating five or six small meals spread out through the day instead of three large ones. Try new recipes or foods. Keep healthy snacks on hand, radiation and lung cancer.
Mouth Problems Before you start radiation to your head or radiation and lung cancer, see your dentist for a thorough exam. Radiation can cause problems in your mouth that include: Mouth sores little cuts or ulcers Lack of saliva Thick saliva Trouble swallowing Jaw stiffness Tell your cancer team about any of these problems so they can help you feel better.
To help manage these side effects: Avoid spicy and acidic foods, radiation and lung cancer. Brush your teeth often with fluoride toothpaste and a soft brush.
Hearing Problems Radiation and lung cancer therapy to the head can sometimes cause hearing yeast infections and diabetes. Continued Nausea Radiation to the head, neck, radiation and lung cancer, and any part of the digestive tract can cause nausea and vomiting. Diarrhea Radiation therapy to your belly can cause diarrhea, which typically starts a few weeks after therapy begins.