When you have radiation treatment for cancer, your body goes through changes.
Two weeks after radiation treatment starts, you might notice changes in your skin. Most of these symptoms go away after your treatments have stopped.
Your hair will begin to fall out about 2 weeks after radiation treatment starts. It may not grow back.
When you have radiation treatment, color markings are drawn on your skin. DO NOT remove them. These show where to aim the radiation. If they come off, DO NOT redraw them. Tell your doctor instead.
To care for your hair:
If you wear a wig or toupee:
To care for your skin in the treatment area:
Keep the treatment area in the open air as much as possible. But stay away from very hot or cold temperatures.
DO NOT swim during treatment. Ask your provider when you can start swimming after treatment.
You need to eat enough protein and calories to keep your weight and strength up. Ask your provider about liquid food supplements that may help you get enough calories.
Avoid sugary snacks and drinks that may cause tooth decay.
You will likely feel tired after a few days. If so:
You may be taking a medicine called dexamethasone (Decadron) while you are getting radiation to the brain.
Your doctor may check your blood counts regularly.
Doroshow JH. Approach to the patient with cancer. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 179.
National Cancer Institute. Radiation therapy and you: Support for people with cancer. Updated May 2007. www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/radiationttherapy.pdf. Accessed March 17, 2016.
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