Radiotherapy side effects can be:
- short-term and typically temporary, or
- long-term and often permanent
The occurrence of side effects and the severity, in which they present, is dependent on several things:
- the body area to which the radiotherapy is given
- the length of the entire radiation treatment
- the daily radiotherapy fraction dose
- the total radiotherapy dose
- complaints that were already present before the start of treatment
- other treatments
It can be difficult to predict exactly what will happen, since everyone can have a different intensity of side-effects. Some children experience many side-effects that impact their daily life, while others only experience minor complaints and carry on with routine activities such as school and sports. Side effects that are mentioned here, may or may not occur, depending on many factors. Your child’s radiation oncologist can give more precise information regarding the individualised plan for your child.
Short-term side effects
Radiotherapy can cause different temporary side effects that your child can experience during treatment and in the weeks after the treatment period.
General complaints that can be experienced are fatigue or low energy that can continue for a while after the end of treatment. Every child can experience a different grade of energy loss, and maybe they have no problems with this. There are no specific lifestyle regulations; adjust activities to the energy level of your child. Discuss with the doctor if there are certain activities (for example swimming, contact sports) that are prohibited during and after therapy.