People who receive radiation therapy may experience skin dryness, itching, or peeling. These usually resolve a few weeks after treatment has finished. Another common side effect is fatigue, a feeling of exhaustion that does not improve with rest. Your level of fatigue may depend on whether you are undergoing other treatments, such as chemotherapy. Although most side effects go away after radiation therapy has finished, some long-term effects may occur.
As radiation therapy is localised to an area of the body, you may only experience side effects in this area. Your radiation oncologist and treatment team will discuss the type of side effects you may experience, however it is important to let your treating team know if any effects you notice or that are making you uncomfortable.
Most side effects are temporary and can be treated or managed. We are always here to help our patients find ways to manage any side effects that you experience.
Two to three weeks after treatment starts your skin may become red, itchy or irritated. This reaction can last the remainder of your treatment, and usually returns to normal two to four weeks after treatment finishes. Sometimes the reaction can become more intense towards the end of treatment, and increase for up to two weeks after treatment finishes.
You may feel tired or lack energy for daily activities during your treatment. You may feel increasingly tired as you reach the end of your treatment. This is a common reaction to radiation therapy and each person is usually affected to varying degrees. Fatigue usually eases a few weeks after treatment finishes. Finding a balance between rest and activity will help you manage.