• Starting radiation soon. Side effects, how bad?

    Asked by gsusan on Monday, November 19, 2012

    Starting radiation soon. Side effects, how bad?

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      Hello. I have no experience with radiation. Here is some information from the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society:


      almost 8 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      When I had radiation for breast cancer I had two side effects 1)extreme exhaustion 2)burning, blistering and peeling at the area receiving treatment. The nurses in the radiation department gave me everything I needed to help control and heal the physical side effects and showed me how to use them. Many people do not get exhausted, but almost everyone who has radiation do suffer from burning and blistering.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      I have had radiation twice, each for about 30 to 40 treatments and I have had only some minor buring to my skin (looks like a sunburn) which is easilt treated. You get to have your spouse or someone you like rub the lotion on you!!! I akso hgad some irritration of my esophagus which effects swallowing because it was impacted by the radiation. Others as mentioned here have had more side effects than I have. It all depends on what the radiation hits and how muck you get.

      almost 8 years ago
    • cancervivor's Avatar

      Radiation for me was harder than it is on some. I had severe burn, turned almost black around the neck where I was treated. I lost my voice, taste buds were shot for most of the treatment, couldn't taste. got sores in my mouth, and fatigue. But even with all that, it was easier than the chemo.

      Best of luck to you

      almost 8 years ago
    • liznparadise's Avatar

      I also had anal cancer. The radiation treatments are painless at the time you receive them. They will cause burning of the area being radiated, however. My Dr. prescribed lidocain cream, Hydrocodone and pyridium which helped with the pain. You will also want to use baby wipes (without alcohol). It also causes stenosis of surrounding tissues such as the bladder and vagina. There are vaginal dilators that you can use that may help minimize the shrinkage. I had stiffness in my hips after I finished treatment, but that eases as time passes. It has been 9 months since I finished my treatments and I am still having clear PET scans so the treatments are worth it even though they are no fun to go through. Best of luck in your journey.

      almost 8 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      It all depends. Mostly on where and for how long radiation will be delivered.

      I had 16 weeks of daily radiation and came out quite crispy. There was also shrinkage which the then docs refused to bother about. It was about 4 years until I could, gingerly, use toilet paper again.

      I like Liznparadise answer very much.

      Best wishes.

      almost 8 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      Except that, for me, radiation was not painless. After the seventh week, I lived from pain pill to pain pill instead of hour to hour.

      That was the point where a nurse noticed me waddling to treatment rather than walking. They gave me a four day break. During that time, my focus was broken and I guess my body came out of shock. The pills only took the edge off the pain, although they were strong enough to knock me to my knees after I took them. Sometimes I double dosed the pills but life was still agony during that time.

      Make sure to get the medical dilator(s) in a proper size. I bought mens' boxer short to wear because they were soft silk and loose. For me, in So Fla, they looked like shorts but I remember going back to the store for another pair and seeing an older salesman turn away in embarrassment. His discomforture gave me a much needed laugh.

      I don't think patients are rquired to go through as much radiation as I endured any more. My trial by radiation took place over a decade ago.

      Best wishes for recovered good health.

      almost 8 years ago
    • warrior3's Avatar

      Same diagnosis here, 7 years ago and all is clear, thank God. Radiation was tough but well worth it. I agree with Sue Rae, my nurses were terrific at recommending things that would help with the burning and the stenosis (narrowing of the vaginal canal; I seriously felt like it was never gonna open again!). Aquaphor, an OTC cream typically used for babies, helped. Sometimes toward the end of treatment I would lie on my side with a fan blowing directly on my rear end... soothing :) Never be afraid to talk to your dr., nurses and radiation techs about your side effects. They've seen it all and often know what really helps.
      I'm really not trying to frighten you, gsusan, just to give you some ideas. It is all manageable and before you know it, it's finished and you are on your way to wellness. Good luck in your journey.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Jodi's Avatar

      Hello. By now you are probably almost finished with radiation but if not, I will be more than happy to share some of my experiences with radiation with you as I had the same type of cancer. Everyone's experiences are different but there are some that are similar and some great tips to help you deal with some of the side effects. There are sprays and creams that take away the burning. There are tricks like laying a towel down in the tub when you are bathing, using wipes instead of tp or water bottle and so forth. It also depends on what type of radiation you are having. I had tomotherapy but some might have cyberknife radiation. If you would like to email me I can share my experiences and some of the things I did to help alleviate some of the side effects. jodi.

      over 7 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      Hi; you ought to be in the midst of or finishing up your radiation ... how are you doing?

      over 7 years ago

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