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What should I know about the side effects of the radiation treatment?

Radiotherapy is one of the primary treatments for mesothelioma and it is used in order to control the growth and spreading of cancer and also to reduce pain and other symptoms. Even though significant progress has been made in radiotherapy, this kind of treatment can still be very difficult and tiresome.

Radiation can be used as adjuvant treatment (in order to kill the cancerous cells that could not be removed during the surgical intervention) or as palliative therapy (used to treat symptoms like shortness of breath, pain, bleeding) but it is important to know that not every patient has to undergo radiotherapy and that there is no guarantee that it will be beneficial to all of the patients who use it as a method of treatment.

You should also know that mesothelioma can affect the lungs, the stomach or the heart and the side effects depend on the treated area. The most frequent ones are fatigue, nausea and “sunburn”, regardless of the site of treatment. The patient usually undergoes radiation sessions for approximately 6 weeks, five times a week and the side effects can get worse over the time.

Comments from doctors

  • Radiation treatment can cause some pulmonary side effects and painful skin reactions but these are only temporary and can be treated. Another side effect of radiation is fatigue.

  • Recent research has shown that combined with surgery and chemotherapy, radiation helps to kill the cancerous cells.

  • Radiation has the capacity to target and kill cancerous cells, reducing pain and increasing the life expectancy.

We wanted a resource where people who are looking for better help can find it, because one of the issues that I have found is that the diagnosis takes a little bit, some people don’t know if they are diagnosed or not. This is something that it is important enough, that is why I wanted to put the information together.