The Effects Of Radiation Therapy

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Radiation Therapy is a word many people with cancer hear on a weekly basis (need better introduction sentence). Radiation Therapy is used as a cancer treatment for more than half of the people diagnosed with cancer (1). Radiation therapy is used to destroy cancer cells but it can also damage healthy cells and tissues which causes side effects. We often hear how effective radiation therapy is as a treatment for many types of cancer but we usually do not hear about the side effects many patients deal with after receiving this treatment. Some patients do not have any side effects from the therapy but others are not so lucky. Some side effects of radiation therapy occur because of the location of the treatment but others are an over-all side effect …show more content…
With this being said, Fatigue is the most common side effect that cancer patients receiving radiation therapy experience (2). Cancer- related fatigue causes patients to feel very exhausted and lethargic during the time that they are receiving the treatment. According to Jeanne Erickson, 95% of cancer patients have reported that they experience fatigue as a side effect of their cancer treatment (3). Fatigue can affect multiple aspects of the quality of life such as making it hard to be with family and friends, hard to keep with the normal activities, and hard to follow up with the remaining treatment plan. Fatigue related to cancer treatment is different from fatigue related to everyday life, therefore, cancer-related fatigue may not get better with rest. Fatigue can control a patient’s life since the severity of the fatigue can differ one day to the next. The severity of the fatigue can cause a patient to have a hard time doing the little things in life like brushing their teeth or even combing their hair. Patients have a hard time doing daily activities because fatigue makes them have little to no energy. Even though Fatigue is the most common side effect of radiation therapy, skin irritation is also a very common side effect in patients (transition …show more content…
Many side effects can occur at the side of the cancer treatment but the most noticeable side effect is a rash. Rashes that occur from the treatment can appear in two ways: like acne or like measles. The types of rashes that occur from the treatment a normally a mild or moderate rash but sometimes patients experience a severe rash that can affect their day-to-day life. A patient can also experience dry and itchy skin as a side effect of their treatment, which is also known as pruritus. Pruritus is usually cleared up by some type of skin cream. Many cancer patients are affected by rashes and pruritus during their experience with radiation therapy. According to Cancer Research, the area that was treated may look permanently tanned and could appear to have tiny broken veins in that area (4). Patients that are effected by pruritus or skin rashes have to be very gentle with their skin. If the treated area has pruritus the patient should not wear tight or rough textured clothes because it can cause more irritation. It is very important that the treated area is very protected from the sun since the skin is sensitive to sunlight after the radiation treatment. Many patients experience fatigue and skin problems with radiation therapy but they can also experience hair loss throughout the

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