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What are the side effects of radiotherapy?

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Quick Answer

The common side effects of radiotherapy include skin problems, such as itching, dryness, peeling or blistering, and fatigue, notes Cancer.Net. Patients who get radiation to the brain or the scalp may experience hair loss. Some side effects depend on where radiotherapy is given.

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Full Answer

A patient who receives radiotherapy to the neck and head may experience difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, nausea mouth and gum sores, jaw stiffness and tooth decay. Radiotherapy to the chest has several possible side effects including breath shortness, difficulty swallowing, breast soreness and should stiffness. Other people can experience fever, cough and lung inflammation, notes Cancer.Net.

Side effects that occur due to radiotherapy to the stomach and abdomen include vomiting, nausea or diarrhea. In some cases, these symptoms disappear after completion of treatment. Radiotherapy to the pelvis leads to several side effects including rectal bleeding, incontinence, sexual problems and bladder irritation. It can also affect the reproductive system in women due to the high doses.

Side effects vary from one person to another and also depend on where the radiation is given. A patient should consult a doctor about the possible side effects before undergoing the procedure. Some people may experience eating problems due to loss of appetite, but it is important to eat a healthy diet during the treatments, notes WebMD.

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