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Cervical Cancer and Radiation Therapy—External

Read more about Radiation Therapy—External.

Overview

Often prescribed in isolation, many medical therapies used to treat cervical (and other forms) of cancer can benefit from being used alongside dietary, herbal and body and mind treatments as well. Specifically, visualization can be a great treatment to use alongside of radiation therapy, as the patient actually visualizes the the treatment as killing off harmful cancer cells.

Check out the cervical cancer treatment page to see all the possible treatments for cervical cancer.

Effect of Radiation Therapy—External on Cervical Cancer

Radiation therapy can be given to treat cancer at its initial site or once it has spread. In some cases, once cancer has spread, radiation is no longer curative. However, the treatments can help resolve problems that the cancer may be causing, including pain and weakness.

Many people believe that once you have received a certain dose of radiation you can no longer get any more treatment. It is true that each tissue in the body can only safely tolerate a certain dose of radiation. However, the therapy is very focused and it is possible to can get additional treatments to an already treated area in some cases, or certainly to an area not yet treated. Ask your radiation oncologist about what dose you can safely receive.

Side Effects and Warnings

#Possible Complications

External radiation does not cause your body to become radioactive. It can cause side effects, as the radiation damages your own healthy cells as well as the cancer cells. Common side effects of radiation include, but are not limited, to:

  • Fatigue
  • Skin changes (redness, irritation)
  • Reduced white blood cell count
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Appetite loss

Discuss the specific side effects that you may have with your doctor.

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Previous radiation therapy
  • A personal history of lupus , scleroderma , or dermatomyositis

A woman who is pregnant or could be pregnant should avoid exposure to radiation. It could harm a developing fetus.

#Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Diarrhea or loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Frequent urination, particularly if it is associated with pain or burning sensation
  • New or unusual swelling or lumps
  • Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given
  • Pain that does not go away
  • Unusual changes in skin, including bruises, rashes, discharge, or bleeding
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • Any other symptom your nurse or doctor told you to look for
  • Any new symptoms

In case of an emergency, CALL 911.

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