Radiotherapy – side effects
Radiation therapy is a method of treatment of certain cancers (eg larynx cancer) and lymphoma (non Hodgkin lymphoma as example) or as the sole method of treatment, but often completing surgery and / or in combination with chemotherapy.
By emitting X-rays over a part of the body targeted for killing cancer cells often with a significant reduction of the tumor mass. Although, often radiotherapy not entirely eliminates the tumor but it significantly improves the symptoms caused the by compression of the tumor on neighboring organs.
In general it is practiced on node groups and on areas immediately adjacent, or nearby the onset of lymphomas. The targeted field can be limited or expanded to a larger area. Before radiotherapy the field will be marked, and each time it will radiate the same area. Surrounding healthy tissue will be protected with lead plates. The process takes place on a special table, the patient will be given cushions to sit comfortably, and most important still. Each session is a few minutes and the total dose is divided between one and six weeks.
Side effects of radiotherapy
- is painless and radioactivity does not persist after the session;
- Hair loss occurs strictly on the irradiated area, is generally temporary, permanent only if the dose was high;
- redness, discomfort, itching, irritation, even peeling, especially when it comes to skin around the mouth, or skin exposed to the sun. Therefore it is recommended to not expose to the sunlight the irradiated areas, be protected by clothing or sunscreen with a high sun protection.
- dry mouth (xerostomia). For this, dentist may recommend fluoride treatment.
- loss of appetite and / or taste. Are recommended frequent meals in small portions.
- sore throat as cough, difficulty swallowing, may be temporary. It is better to eat easily digestible food, possibly to use dietary supplements and avoid citrus.
- nausea occurs more frequently in patients irradiated on the abdomen. It is recommended not to eat before or to stay away from fatty foods, spicy foods, and if possible to schedule evening meetings, to be at home when symptoms begins. Also you can ask your doctor for an antiemetic treatment.