How soon after radiation treatment will side effects subside?


Quick Answer

Most side effects of radiation therapy will subside shortly after the treatment is ended, but some side effects can be permanent and others can come months or years after the radiation therapy is ended, according to WebMD.

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Full Answer

Common side effects during and after radiation treatment include fatigue, nausea or local problems like skin changes or hair loss if the head or neck region is receiving radiation. The duration of the recovery after treatment is ended and the magnitude of the treatment's side effects depends on both the stage and grade of the cancer, how much healthy tissue has been affected during the treatment and the location of the tumor site, as reported by WebMD.

It is common to experience fatigue after radiation treatment. This fatigue is characterized by the fact that it doesn't go away after the patient has rested or slept. This state lasts between six weeks and a year after the end of the radiation therapy. In the area being treated, it is common that the skin itches, peels, blisters and/or turns red and tender during treatment. These changes are transient, and start to heal once the treatment ends, claims WebMD.

If the salivary glands are damaged during the treatment, the condition is permanent. Some side effects can come months or years after the radiation therapy. These include skin changes, damage to the bowels, chronic irritation of the bladder or rectal area, vaginal scarring, memory loss, infertility, harm to lungs or heart or, in rare cases, a second cancer, according to WebMD.

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