Long-term side effects of radiotherapy
All cancer treatments can result in long-term side effects.
Modern ways of giving radiotherapy aim to limit the risk of permanent side effects. This has meant that the number of people who develop long-term problems is reducing. However, when radiotherapy is also given with chemotherapy, the long-term effects of radiotherapy may be increased.
Before you consent to the radiotherapy, your clinical oncologist will discuss the likelihood of you developing long-term side effects. It’s important that you have the opportunity to talk these through with your oncologist, even though they might not happen to you.
You can find more information about the possible long-term effects of treatment in our sections about your type of cancer.
We also have specific information on the following:
Radiotherapy can cause cancer, and a small number of people will develop a second cancer because of the treatment they’ve had. However, the chance of a second cancer developing is so small that the risks of having radiotherapy are far outweighed by the benefits.
If you’re concerned about your risk of developing a second cancer, talk to your cancer specialist.