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Radiation therapy is generally used on either small cancers where there are relatively few cells to attack, inoperable cancers, or in addition to another form of treatment.

Sometimes radiation is used to shrink cancers so they can be surgically removed; sometimes it’s used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells; and sometimes it’s used for pain control.

Should you be concerned about getting cancer from radiation therapy? — not really. Today’s advanced site-specific radiation rarely causes cancer. Most people will experience skin burning — like a sunburn. Your radiology oncologist will tell you what to expect and how to care for yourself.

As with your other medical professionals, the key is to communicate, communicate, communicate.

Almost everyone suffers from fatigue. It’s thought that the body is using it’s energy to cope with the radiation. The fatigue will last even long after therapy is over but should eventually end. Pamper yourself with some extra rest and relaxation.

Other side-effects or reactions to radiation are specific to the area radiated.

If you receive radiation:

  • in the head area you'll probably lose your hair

  • in the face or neck you may lose your whiskers (men) and have some problems with your gums or teeth

  • in the chest area you may get a cough

  • around your stomach you may experience nausea

  • near your intestines you may have diarrhea.

Almost everyone experiences some residual pain which can continue for quite a while after radiation therapy has been completed. Your radiology team will be able to explain what reactions to expect and how best to cope with them.

Read the list of questions to ask about radiation.

YOUR ATTITUDE IS IMPORTANT

FOCUS ON THE HEALING ASPECTS OF RADIATION

Take a look
at the resources available
about radiation.

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