5 Common Side Effects Of Radiation
Radiation therapy is no walk in the park. That’s a pretty widely known fact. It is, however, often the best course of treatment for many types of cancer. If you’re currently planning to undergo radiation therapy, you and your doctor have likely already discussed the risks and benefits, as well as the process and possible side effects of your treatment.
Still, before diving in it’s important to understand in depth some of the most common side effects, and what will be able to help you find relief. That way, as you enter this next, brutal stage of treatment, you’ll be prepared for what’s ahead. Here’s 5 of the most common effects of radiation, and some ways to find relief.
When you’re battling cancer or other diseases requiring radiation therapies, it’s challenging to keep nourishing your body with healthy food. Radiation often causes mild to severe nausea in patients— this causes a daily struggle to maintain their strength amidst fighting a relentless disease. Your doctor may be able to help you manage these symptoms or find a diet more suitable for the stretches where you are undergoing radiation therapy.
Perhaps the most commonly expected radiation side effect is hair loss; radiation damages your body’s hair follicles, so your hair may not grow back the same way it was before. It can be demoralizing to lose your hair, but many cancer warriors wear it with pride. Your journey is your own, and knowing that hair loss is a possibility can help you prepare for this common side effect. According to the American Cancer Society, wearing a cooling cap may help reduce your hair loss risk.
It’s extremely common to experience moderate to severe levels of fatigue while undergoing radiation treatment. Your body is under an intense amount of stress and uses every ounce of energy to heal the intentional damage that the radiation therapy is causing. When you feel tired and weak, remember that rest is extremely important to your recovery; your body is telling you to slow down, so listen if you can.
Low Blood Count
This side effect is more common in patients receiving chemotherapy treatment but is still quite possible in radiation-only patients. Radiation damages all cells; while the intention is to target the cancerous mass as precisely as possible, there will be non-foreign casualties.
Unfortunately, this can cause your blood counts to change drastically: low white blood cell count is particularly concerning since it increases your risk for infection. If your oncologist notices this in your blood work, they may pause your treatment while you recover.
Skin Issues - Radiation Dermatitis
Other common side effects of radiation treatment involve the skin. Just as radiation damages hair follicles, so does it also damage the epidermis. The American Cancer Society states that “our skin in the radiation treatment area might look red, irritated, swollen, blistered, sunburned, or tanned. After a few weeks, your skin might become dry, flaky, or itchy, or it may peel. This is sometimes called radiation dermatitis.”
If you think you may have radiation dermatitis symptoms, you should reach out to your medical support team. Your oncologist might have some advice that can help you feel more comfortable while you undergo treatment.
Here at Rejuvaskin, we’ve developed a skin cream tailored to the radiation burns that plague cancer warriors. We’ve designed our Skin Recovery Cream with you in mind. We’ve added bamboo, pea, and glucosamine to support your skin’s collagen production; this cream both soothes and repairs damaged skin. Our Skin Recovery Cream is also formulated with safe botanicals like Aloe and Calendula to nourish your skin when it needs it the most.
You are a warrior, and you deserve the best relief that medication and topical treatments have to offer. Rejuvaskin is dedicated to creating trustworthy products you know you can reach for, even when your skin is at its worst. Try our Skin Recovery Cream today; even if you haven’t started radiation treatment yet, it can help you build up your skin health to prevent radiation dermatitis.