Follicular and papillary thyroid cancer
Medullary thyroid cancer
Anaplastic thyroid cancer
External beam radiotherapy does not make you radioactive. It is perfectly safe for you to be with other people, including children, throughout your treatment.
Before you start your treatment, it needs to be carefully planned. Planning makes sure that the radiotherapy is aimed precisely at your cancer so that it causes the least possible damage to the surrounding healthy tissue.
If your neck area is being treated, you will need to have a mould or mask made before your treatment is planned. This is to keep your head still while you have your treatment. You will also have a CT scan to help with planning.
Radiotherapy can cause general side effects such as tiredness (fatigue).
Specific side effects of radiotherapy to the neck can include:
- discomfort or pain when swallowing
- a dry throat, and sometimes mouth
- thick, sticky saliva
- taste changes
- skin changes in the area being treated – the skin may become sore, red or darker than normal
- a hoarse voice.
Your doctor, specialist nurse or radiotherapist will discuss any possible side effects with you before you start your treatment. They can also give you information to help you cope with any side effects.