Side effects of radiotherapy
Patients undergoing radiotherapy can develop symptoms of fatigue that require periods of rest. However, doctors advise patients to remain as active as possible.
Holo-cranial radiotherapy can often lead to hair loss, which can provoke scalp irritations. It is important to maintain the scalp in a clean condition and patients should follow precisely, the recommendations of their doctor. Radiotherapy can also cause nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. These side effects are usually temporary and doctors or nurses can recommend methods to alleviate them during the period of treatment.
However, some side effects can be more lasting. In young children who are undergoing holo-cranial radiotherapy problems related to learning and coordination have been detected. For this reason it is avoided if possible or the lowest possible dosage of radiation is applied, and only those cases in which chemotherapy is not effective on its own.
Radiotherapy applied to the genital organs can affect hormone production and the level of fertility. The majority of young adults who undergo this treatment become infertile and some require the administration of hormones.
For more information, the following web pages can be consulted:
- National Cancer Institute of United States – Acute Lymphoid Leukaemia in adult
- Leukaemia & Lymphoma Society –Acute Lymphoid Leukaemia
- Leukaemia & Lymphoma Society – Guide for ALL patients and caregivers