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Radiation Therapy Side Effects

Radiation is a powerful type of energy that comes in the form of particles or waves. It occurs naturally in sunlight and sound waves, and trace radioactive elements in the earth can also give off background radiation. Thus, most people absorb tiny amounts of this energy every year.

However, humans have harnessed the power of radiation for a number of industries, including healthcare. It is used in diagnostics such as x-rays, and it is also a form of cancer therapy. Radiation is a common, traditional approach to cancer treatment. It is typically combined with surgery and chemotherapy to fully attack your cancer.

Early vs. Late Effects

Radiation side effects typically come in two different waves, early and late. Early side effects can occur while you are still in the treatment process, or they can arise immediately after. Late effects may not appear until months or years after your treatment.

Side Effects After Radiation

Radiation is very powerful, and it can kill or severely cripple your cells. Thus, oncologists are very careful to target radiation only at cancerous cells in your body. Sometimes, though, healthy tissue can be affected. As this radioactive energy courses through your body, you can experience common early side effects such as:

  • Nausea – typically in the first hour or two of radiation, but it can get better as treatment progresses
  • Fatigue – the potent treatment can zap your strength, leaving you weak
  • Skin changes – the skin can suffer from burns and other marks where external radiation beams hit

Many side effects are related to the area that you are irradiating. For instance, radiation does not normally cause hair loss, but if you have radiation to your brain, the energy on your skull can cause baldness. In the long term, you may experience infertility, scarring, and a higher chance of developing other cancers.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer such as mesothelioma, it is important to understand the battle ahead, including treatment options and their side effects. To learn more about treating mesothelioma, please fill out the contact form located at the top of the page today.

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