Roswell Park Oncologist Reports on Side Effects of Radiation Therapy

It’s difficult to predict the side effects a patient might experience from radiation therapy for two reasons: First, no two people will have the same degree of side effects; and, second, you can’t really know what will happen with the therapy until you start and progress for a few weeks.

That’s the expert opinion of Simon Fung-Kee-Fung, M.D, an Assistant Professor of Oncology, writing in the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Cancer Talk blog. Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, based in Buffalo, NY, is the nation’s first cancer center, founded in 1898. It was recently named one of the nation’s leading cancer centers in the U.S. News and World Report’s 2017-2018 Best Hospital Survey.

Dr. Fung-Kee-Fung described two different categories of side effects from radiation therapy: The early and late effects. The early side effects are more common and generally more predictable based on where the therapy is being focused. For instance, dry mouth and discomfort from swallowing can be the result of head and neck radiation, while treatment to the belly area can cause nausea and diarrhea.

Dry Mouth & Radiation Therapy

Late side effects can present months or even years after the radiation treatment. Salivary function, the focus of this blog, can be a long-term effect from radiation therapy if the treatment is focused on the head and/or neck.

Dr. Fung-Kee-Fung’s advice for anyone receiving radiation treatment: “know what side effects to expect, practice prevention, and address any side effects early with your doctor.”

For his complete report, visit the Roswell Park Cancer Talk blog at: https://www.roswellpark.org/cancertalk/201802/side-effects-radiation-therapy

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