Radiation therapy is often a grueling process for many patients, both physically and emotionally. While treatment itself is painless, the short and long-term side effects of radiation can be very challenging and exhausting.
That is why our cancer support team always encourages patients to openly discuss their symptoms and their severity so that they can find a way to minimize them. Despite how helpless you may feel, there is a lot that you (and we) can do to help treat the side effects of radiotherapy.
Here are 5 radiotherapy coping tips we believe anyone going through radiation should know.
1. Get Plenty Of Rest
One of the most common side effects of radiotherapy is fatigue. This is because, when a patient receives radiotherapy, the treatment kills healthy cells as well as cancerous cells. Getting plenty of rest minimizes the feelings of fatigue and prevents overexertion.
2. Maintain A Healthy Diet
If you’re suffering from nausea or lack of appetite, eating regularly may be a challenge but it is an important part of staying healthy. Tell your doctor if your nausea is severe as there are treatment options to reduce nausea.
It is recommended that radiotherapy patients eat small, frequent meals instead of three large ones. Be sure to follow any dietary regulations set by your doctor and avoid hot, cold, spicy, and fatty foods as these can upset your stomach.
3. Protect Your Skin
Radiotherapy tends to affect the skin over where the radiation was done; ask your nurse or doctor for the best way to treat it. Sunscreen can be very helpful when going out and will protect your skin from any additional damage. Make sure to avoid powders, perfumes, lotions, ice packs or heating pads until you’ve discussed with your nurse or doctor what is right for you.
4. Commit To Small Activities
If you’re feeling up to it, try out a non-rigorous activity, such as going for a walk every day or a few times a week. Though rest is key, some exercise can be very helpful in reducing fatigue. In addition, some exercise can also help fight depression and greatly reduce stress.
5. Give It Time
Fighting cancer takes time and some aspects of it will only improve with time and continued treatment. It can be frustrating and you may feel like you’re running low on patience but be sure to remember that you’re already doing everything you can.
If you or someone you know are going through radiotherapy and would like to learn more radiotherapy coping tips, please be sure to speak with your nurse or doctor. It’s important to be fully honest with them about your symptoms and your feelings so that they can give you the help you need. For more information, contact us or book an appointment today.