Know About Unusual Symptoms After Radiation Treatment
Radiation therapy is a treatment option for many different types of cancer, and may be used in conjunction with chemotherapy or surgery. Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells, and it may be given internally or externally. More cancers are treated with external radiation on an outpatient basis, with treatment occurring as often as once a day for up to 8 weeks. Radiation treatment produces side effects, but some unusual post-treatment symptoms may be red flags that you will want to share with your doctor.
1. Learn the different side effects for your type of cancer and the particular area being treated. Keep in mind, radiation is used to reduce or destroy tumors, treat cancers affecting the lymphatic system or to relieve pain from cancers that have spread to the bones.
2. Expect certain symptoms to take longer than others to diminish after treatment ends. It's not unusual for it to take up to 3 months for taste to return if you've had radiation to the mouth area and up to 6 months for hair to start growing back.
3. Take special care of the skin where radiation treatment was administered. Get permission from your doctor to use baby oil or lotion with aloe to help reduce itching and irritation. Realize that it's normal for the skin to have a slightly darker color long after treatment is over.
4. Know the most common signs of an unusual reaction to radiation. Look out for swelling, persistent fever, bleeding, trouble swallowing or unusual weight loss.
5. Make and keep follow-up appointments with your oncologist, physical therapist and family doctor. Be sure to ask if additional tests are needed to determine if the cancer is in remission.Tags: After Radiation, After Radiation Treatment, after treatment, Radiation therapy, side effects