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Coping with Side Effects

While receiving your cancer treatment, you may develop side effects, including:

  • Fatigue and weakness - Feeling unusually tired and physically weak is a standard side effect of radiation treatment and chemotherapy.

  • Hair loss and nausea - These are common side effects of chemotherapy.

  • Redness to the area treated with radiation - This may vary and your radiation therapist will monitor your skin during your daily visits. The therapist will notify your provider or nurse if you need to be seen to have your skin evaluated.

  • Sexual activity - Your sexual activity may be affected during radiation treatment. This can be due to fatigue or discomfort to the area being treated. If you have questions, please ask your radiation oncologist or visit our sexual health information page. If you have any questions regarding sexual activity or sperm banking, please discuss with your doctor prior to starting treatment.

  • Urinary or bowel changes - Please alert your care team if you are experiencing any urinary or bowel changes.

  • Use of birth control - For women of childbearing age, you must use birth control to prevent pregnancy during treatment. For men, during and immediately after the course of radiation, use protection to prevent pregnancy. Becoming pregnant while undergoing cancer treatment can be dangerous for both the developing baby and mother.

As your treatment progresses, it is normal for your fatigue or weakness to worsen. If that occurs, try the following tips to help get some relief:

  • Attempt light exercise, such as walking or stretching
  • Reduce your activities
  • Reduce your work hours
  • Take short naps if you are able to
  • Try to get eight hours of sleep

Make sure that you keep yourself hydrated during your treatment. Note that if you are receiving radiation treatment, you are not radioactive, and cannot pass the radiation to anyone else.