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FIND A RADIATION ONCOLOGIST

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Side Effects

This list doesn't represent all of the possible side side effects. Please talk to your radiation oncologist about your specific diagnosis to learn more about how likely these side effects may be for you.

View the visual side effects chart.

Short term side effects

Side effects are usually temporary and usually go away shortly after treatment ends. Below is a list of possible side effects you might notice during your treatment.

More likely
  • Fatigue
  • Loose stools/diarrhea
  • Skin changes (mainly for anal cancers)
  • Frequent urination
  • Cramping
  • Reduced blood counts
  • Nausea/bloating sensation
Less likely
  • Itching 
  • Skin redness 
  • Hair loss in the treatment area

Long term side effects

After the short-term side effects of radiation therapy resolve, others may become noticeable months or years later.

More likely
  • Frequent bowel movements 
  • Urgency of bowel movements
  • Loose stool/diarrhea
  • Increased urinary urgency
  • Blood in stool
  • Blood in urine
Less likely
  • Swelling of legs (if groin areas are treated)
  • Bone pain/joint stiffness
  • Second cancer formation (rare)
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