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Radiation is often used to treat cancer. Radiation treatment uses high-energy rays or radioactive material to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. Radiation treatment is very good at killing cancer cells. But it can also affect normal cells. This can lead to side effects.
The most common side effects are feeling very tired and having sensitive skin in the treated area. Some people lose their appetite, feel sick to their stomach (nauseated), or have other problems. It depends on the area treated. For example, treating your lungs may lead to a cough. Radiation treatment for brain cancer can cause hair loss, but the hair usually grows back.
Most side effects will go away within a few weeks after you finish your treatments. Meanwhile, your doctor can give you medicine to ease some side effects. You also can do a lot at home to relieve symptoms. To feel as well as possible, get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, and eat a healthy diet.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
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Current as of: August 22, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Jimmy Ruiz MD - Hematology, Oncology
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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