Radiotherapy (beams of radioactive light) uses is used to carefully aim a beam of radiation at the tumour. The radiation damages the cells in the path of the beam – normal cells as well as cancer cells. Radiation therapy is sometimes used to treat seminomas after surgery. Radiation can help prevent the cancer from coming back or destroy cancer cells that may have spread beyond the testicle. During radiation therapy, the remaining healthy testicle is shielded to protect it from damage.
Side effects of Radiotherapy
Radiation side effects will be different depending on what part of the body receives the radiation. You may feel more tired than usual; have some diarrhoea or notice changes to the skin may be red or tender where the treatment was given.
Many treatments for cancer can have side effects but it’s hard to know if and when they might happen to you. Side effects are caused by damage to healthy cells during treatment. They from radiation therapy vary from person to person, depending on:
- The amount of radiation
- The part of your body being treated
- The treatment given to you
- Other medications you are taking
General Side Effects
They may include:
- Anxiety or depression
- Changes in appetite
- Skin changes in the treatment area
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Hair loss in the treatment area
As radiation therapy affects everyone in different ways, it is difficult to predict exactly how you will react to treatment. You may not have side effects at all, or only a few mild ones during your treatment. But being aware of possible side effects can help you cope with any problems that arise.
How Long Do Side Effects Last?
It takes time for healthy cells to recover from the effects of radiation therapy, so side effects may continue even after treatment is over. Some may continue for weeks or months after your treatment. Other side effects, such as infertility, might be permanent.