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Side Effects

Side effects are different for everyone. Some patients feel fine during treatment while others may feel uncomfortable.
  • Mild tiredness may develop. However, tiredness from radiation should improve within a few weeks after radiation treatment ends.
  • Skin irritation may occur with external beam radiation. Clean the area regularly with mild soap and warm water.
  • Shortness of breath or cough may be temporary or permanent depending on your cancer and its treatment.
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing may develop that will get better a few weeks after treatment is finished.
  • Loss of chest hair may occur but only in the area being treated.

Very rare long-tern potential side effects include rib fracture or a second cancer from the radiation treatment.

Some side effects can be controlled with medications and changes to your diet. Ask your doctor or nurse whether you should make any changes in your diet. Tell them if you experience any discomfort so they can help you feel better.