Radiation is used along with surgery and chemotherapy to treat cancer. It works by damaging the DNA inside a tumour cell so that the cell is unable to continue growing. At least half of all cancer patients will receive radiation at some stage during their battle with cancer. Adverse reactions may be felt as early as a few days or weeks after radiation treatments have begun, and as long as a few years after treatments have ended.
The three most commonly experienced side effects of radiation therapy are
Figure a: Telangiectasis in a 73-year-old woman who completed external beam radiation therapy three and one half years earlier for an infiltrating ductal carcinoma of the right breast (T4N2M0; stage IIIB). Treatments included radiation to the chest wall, supraclavicular area, and posterior axilla (5,040 cGy), followed by an electron boost to the incision line (1,440 cGy).
Other Radiation Side Effects
This depends on what type of cancer and in which you receive treatment on your body. Possible side effects include:Hair Loss:
Hair loss only occurs at the site which is being treated. If you are having radiation therapy on pelvis, there will no loss of hair on the head. But, if they are having treatment for head and neck cancer, there will be a experience hair loss. The good news is that in most cases, hair does grow back after treatment.
Decreases in Blood Count:
Radiation can cause the lowering of white blood cells and platelets. This can lead to lowered immunity to viruses and bacteria because the white blood cells are what fights off these attackers. Tests will be done on a regular basis to check blood counts and treatment may be altered depending on the results. While side effects do vary with treatment, where the radiation is being directed will produce different side effects. For instance, treatment to the pelvis may cause fertility problems, and treatment to the head and neck can produce dental problems like cavities.
1. What are the three main significant adverse effects in radiation therapy?
b) Loss of appetite
c) Skin problems
2. Due to radiation blood count in the body will increase or decrease
c) first increase and then decrease
1. d) all
2. b) decrease
Dictionary of Cancer Terms
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