Patients undergoing radiation therapy experience a wide range of side effects, from the very mild to the extremely bothersome. The most common early side effects are fatigue and skin issues. “The best way you can control fatigue is to take good care of yourself,” says Tapan Roy, MD, FACR, radiation oncologist at Saint Francis Medical Center. “Get plenty of rest and stick to a nutritious diet. Prioritize your activities so you are dedicating as much time as possible to your treatment and recovery.”
Radiation therapy can affect your skin much like a sunburn would, causing it to become red, swollen, itchy or flaky. “Wear loose clothing and stay out of the sun as much as possible,” says Roy. “Do not scrub your skin; use a very gentle cleanser while your skin is healing. Your skin problems should improve a few weeks after you finish radiation therapy.”
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