After two or three weeks of treatment your skin may become red, itchy and irritated. This reaction normally lasts through the rest of your treatment and usually settles two to four weeks after treatment has finished.
You may become increasingly tired as you progress toward the end of your treatment. This is a normal reaction to the radiotherapy and each person is affected to varying degrees. Finding a balance between rest and activity will help you cope with this side effect.
Pain and discomfort
The nursing staff will give you information about pain control and your doctor will write prescriptions if required. It is important that you follow the pain control instructions, as this will ensure that you are comfortable and best equipped to complete the radiation treatment.
Radiation therapy to ‘bone areas’ can cause a temporary increase in pain in the area being treated; it usually lasts 12 -36 hours. Nurses will discuss the use of additional ‘breakthrough’ analgesia and your doctor will write prescriptions if required.
Difficulty swallowing is a common reaction when the throat is in the treatment area. As a result of inflammation, the throat may feel painful when swallowing or produce a sensation like a ‘lump in the throat’. Early assessment by your doctor and nursing staff can assist in alleviating your discomfort. Dietary changes may be required. Nurses will discuss with you in detail any changes that are necessary. These may include soft moist food, avoiding salty/spicy foods and alcohol consumption. Dietary supplements such as Ensure/Sustagen may be recommended.
Your radiation oncologist will discuss any possible long term side effects with you related specifically to your individual treatment.