Radiotherapy affects people in different ways, so it’s difficult to predict exactly how you’ll react to your treatment. The side effects you have will depend on the type of treatment and the area of body being treated.
Before you consent to the treatment, the hospital staff will explain any side effects you may get. They can also give tips on how to deal with them and how they can be treated.
In this section, we discuss the general side effects of radiotherapy that you may experience, whichever part of the body you’re having radiotherapy to.
You may also find it helpful to read about your type of cancer before you start your treatment. It will include information about the possible side effects of radiotherapy. Being aware of these in advance can help you cope with any side effects that may develop.
External radiotherapy tends to cause more general side effects than internal therapy. It’s important to remember that most people will have only a few of the side effects mentioned here, and for many people, they will be mild. The use of modern treatments means that severe side effects are very rare. Most side effects of radiotherapy will continue for about 10–15 days after treatment has finished and then gradually begin to get better. However, symptoms of tiredness may continue for longer.