Do You Lose Hair With Radiation Therapy?

Is radiation worse than chemo?

When it comes to side effects, radiation therapy is a little different than chemotherapy in that it only causes side effects in the area being treated (with the exception of fatigue), and generally has risk for both early and late side effects..

Does radiation weaken your immune system?

Certain cancer treatments (such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, stem cell or bone marrow transplant, or steroids) or the cancer itself can suppress or weaken the immune system. These treatments can lower the number of white blood cells (WBCs) and other immune system cells.

How long does it take for radiation to shrink a tumor?

Treatments are usually given five days a week for six to seven weeks. If the goal of treatment is palliative (to control symptoms) treatment will last 2-3 weeks in length. Using many small doses (fractions) for daily radiation, rather than a few large doses, helps to protect the healthy cells in the treatment area.

How do you know if radiation therapy is working?

There are a number of ways your care team can determine if radiation is working for you. These can include: Imaging Tests: Many patients will have radiology studies (CT scans, MRI scans, PET scans) during or after treatment to see if/how the tumor has responded (gotten smaller, stayed the same, or grown).

Do radiation treatments make you sick?

Nausea and vomiting can occur after radiation therapy to the stomach, small intestine, colon or parts of the brain. Your risk for nausea and vomiting depends on how much radiation you are getting, how much of your body is in the treatment area, and whether you are also having chemotherapy.

Does your hair fall out with radiotherapy?

Hair loss is a common side effect of radiotherapy. But unlike hair loss during chemotherapy, it only causes hair loss in the area being treated. Ask your care team to show you exactly where your hair is likely to fall out. Your hair will usually start to fall out 2 to 3 weeks after treatment starts.

How long after radiation does hair fall out?

Hair loss usually occurs two to three weeks after chemotherapy or radiation treatment begins. Hair loss may be sudden or gradual.

What are the most common side effects of radiation therapy?

The most common early side effects are fatigue (feeling tired) and skin changes. Other early side effects usually are related to the area being treated, such as hair loss and mouth problems when radiation treatment is given to this area. Late side effects can take months or even years to develop.

What should you avoid during radiation?

Foods to avoid or reduce during radiation therapy include sodium (salt), added sugars, solid (saturated) fats, and an excess of alcohol. Some salt is needed in all diets. Your doctor or dietitian can recommend how much salt you should consume based on your medical history.

What is the first sign of too much radiation?

The initial signs and symptoms of treatable radiation sickness are usually nausea and vomiting. The amount of time between exposure and when these symptoms develop is a clue to how much radiation a person has absorbed.