What to expect during and/or after radiation therapy treatment
Radiation therapy affects the normal cells as well as the cancer cells in your body. The side effects you may experience depend on the amount of radiation you receive. Be sure to let your doctor know of any side effects you have during or after treatment.
Here are some possible side effects you may have during or after your treatments:
- You may have diarrhea, which may or may not have blood in it. You may also have cramping or feel like you need to have a bowel movement. If you have these effects, they are likely to begin to occur in the second or third week of treatment.
- The skin around the area treated may get irritated, especially under the scrotum or folds of the buttocks. The skin may be red, flake, or drain fluid.
- You may lose your pubic hair. Some of it may grow back.
- You may feel like you have to urinate often or all the time. You may have a burning feeling when you’re urinating. You also may have blood in your urine. If you have these kinds of problems, they usually start to occur about 3 to 5 weeks into your radiation treatment.
- You may feel very tired and this may not stop until you have been finished with your treatments for about a month.
- You may have swelling in your legs, penis, or scrotum. This is rare but occurs more often in men who have also had a lymph node biopsy.
The following effects may continue after your treatment ends. In some cases, they may not appear until months or years after you treatment ends.
- Bowel problems, such as diarrhea or cramping
- Urinary problems, such as needing to go to the bathroom more often or having trouble controlling your urine.
- Nobility to have an erection, called erectile dysfunction
You can talk with your doctor about ways to deal with these longer-lasting side effects.
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