• search icon
  • head icon
  • information icon
  • group icon
  • page icon
  • close icon


SNIPSTART Find A Radiation Oncologist

Side Effects

The side effects you might experience will depend on the part of the body being treated, the dose of radiation given and whether you also receive chemotherapy. Before treatment begins, ask your doctor about possible side effects and how best to manage them.
  • You may experience mild skin irritation like a sunburn, sore throat, upset stomach, loose bowel movements and/or fatigue. Most side effects will go away after treatment ends.
  • Radiation to your head or mouth may cause mouth dryness that can lead to tooth decay. Fluoride treatments may help, so your radiation oncologist will ask you to see your dentist before treatment begins.
  • Radiation can cause inflammation in the treated area. For example, treatment to the chest may cause difficulty with swallowing, a cough or feeling short of breath.
  • You might lose your hair in the areas treated. Your hair will grow back, but it might not have the same texture or thickness.
  • Tell your doctor or nurse if you experience any discomfort or side effects. They may be able to prescribe medication or change your diet to help.

These side effects are temporary and should go away after treatment ends. Because cure rates have improved significantly, there are potential late effects from radiation that vary based upon the area treated and dose you receive. Ask your doctor to discuss any possible longer-term side effects with you before treatment begins.