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Radiation Therapy—External
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings
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Radiation Therapy—External Side Effects and Warnings

Written by sshowalter, FoundHealth.

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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