Dealing With The Immediate Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy For Cancer

Radiation therapy is one of the best treatments doctors have for certain forms of cancer. It can be a great follow-up to surgery, helping to kill any lingering cancer cells and prevent the cancer from returning. But unfortunately, radiation therapy is not without side effects. These side effects are not a reason to turn down radiation therapy if your doctor feels it is your best treatment option. But they are something to be aware of and to manage. Here are some tips to help you prepare for and appropriately deal with the side effects of radiation therapy.

Prepare to get plenty of rest.

One of the main side effects of radiation treatment is fatigue. This usually sets in a few days after treatment, and it can continue to worsen in the weeks that follow. Some patients experience worse fatigue than others, but when you are scheduling your radiation treatments, it's best to assume you'll be quite fatigued afterwards.

Plan on spending more time resting and less time socializing, working, and tackling other tasks. If you can go down to working part-time or maybe even take a few weeks completely off from work, this is best. Also, arrange for loved ones to help you as much as possible. If they can prepare meals for you, clean your home, and run errands, you'll be better able to rest when you feel like it rather than having to fight through the fatigue.

Buy a great moisturizer

Another major side effect of radiation treatment is really dry, peeling skin. This is not just a cosmetic issue, either. The dry skin can become itchy, and if you itch it too much, you may increase your risk of a skin infection. So, before radiation treatment, invest in a really high-quality moisturizer without artificial scents and colors. Start applying it a few weeks before you begin radiation treatment, and then keep applying it several times a day. It's best to get ahead of the dry skin rather than wait for it to appear.

Start taking a multivitamin

Talk to your doctor about taking a multivitamin. They may have a specific one they recommend for patients in treatment for cancer. Radiation treatment can deplete your blood count levels, which means you may need more iron and vitamin B12 to build your blood back up after treatment. Supplementing with the nutrients your body needs may help reduce the severity of an array of side effects, including fatigue, dry skin, headaches, and memory loss.

Side effects are an unfortunate reality when undergoing radiation treatment. But if you get your rest, take a multivitamin, and apply a good moisturizer, you can keep them under control. Reach out to a doctor for more information about cancer radiation treatment