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Side effects of radiotherapy

Find out about the side effects of external radiotherapy and how to cope with them.

Side effects of radiotherapy

Radiotherapy for anal cancer has some short term side effects that usually start a few days after the radiotherapy begins. They can gradually get worse during the treatment, but they usually begin to improve 1 or 2 weeks after your treatment ends.

Everyone is different and the side effects vary from person to person. You may not have all of the effects mentioned.

Side effects can include:

Possible long term side effects

Most side effects gradually go away in the weeks or months after treatment. But some side effects can continue or might start some months or years later, particularly if you received higher doses of radiation.

Side effects if you have chemotherapy with radiotherapy

Chemotherapy combined with radiotherapy can make some side effects worse. Combining these treatments is called chemoradiotherapy.

Find out more about chemoradiotherapy

Last reviewed: 
07 Jun 2016
  • Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (10th edition)
    VT De Vita, TS Lawrence and SA Rosenberg
    Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2015

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