Many patients are surprised to discover that having radiation therapy is less difficult than they expected, though the radiation used to damage cancer in your body can also damage healthy cells. Just as the benefits of radiation are gradual, you'll usually see a gradual onset of side effects.
Not everyone experiences side effects of radiation. But by being ready for these reactions and responding quickly, you and your doctor can minimize their effect on your life. Several weeks after treatment ends, the side effects typically go away.
Each individual person will have a unique response, so it's hard to predict exactly what will and won't happen to you. Many of the expected side effects from radiation prove to be misperceptions. Still, if you do have fears about side effects, it can take away your peace of mind.
On these pages, you can read about the kinds of side effects you may experience over the course of your radiation treatment:
Read about the how radiation affects the skin in the Managing Skin Side Effects pages.