What Side Effects May I Have During Or After My Imrt Treatments
There are several side effects that you may have during or after your IMRT treatments. They are urinary problems, bowel problems, erectile dysfunction or impotence , skin problems, loss of appetite and tiredness. Remember, that IMRT treatments are focused on your prostate cancer. This protects the healthy cells around your prostate, which means you may have fewer side effects and that the side effects you do have wont be as bad.
The urinary problems you may have are:
The bowel problems you may have are:
- Soreness in your rectal areaYou may have soreness in your rectal area. This usually goes away by itself. If you are very sore, let you doctor or health care team know. There are medicines and things that you can do to be more comfortable.
- Rectal Urgency
The erectile dysfunction problem you may have is:
- Fewer erectionsMost men do not have problems with erections or intercourse during or right after IMRT. Over time, you may find that you are not having as many erections as you used to. This is because the radiation can harm the nerves near your prostate that help you have erections. Talk to your doctor or health care team if you have a problem like this.
The skin problems you may have are:
Another problem you may have is:
If you have trouble figuring out how to make changes to deal with your tiredness, you may want to talk with your doctor or health care team.
Another problem you may have is:
Managing your side effects.
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What Will I Learn By Reading This
When you have chemotherapy to control your prostate cancer, you may have side effects or unwanted changes in your body. Side effects are different from person to person, and may be different from one treatment to the next. Some people have no or very mild side effects. The good news is that there are ways to deal with most of the side effects. You will learn:
- What diarrhea is
- Why does chemotherapy cause diarrhea
- Things you can do to manage your diarrhea
- When to call your doctor
It is important for you to learn how to manage the side effects you may have from chemotherapy so that you can keep doing as many of your normal activities as possible.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor Nurse Or Radiographer
You may find it helpful to keep a note of any questions you have to take to your next appointment.
- What type of radiotherapy will I have?
- How many sessions will I need?
- What other treatment options do I have?
- What are the possible side effects and how long will they last?
- What treatments are available to manage the possible side effects from radiotherapy?
- Will I have hormone therapy and will this carry on after radiotherapy?
- How and when will I know if radiotherapy has worked?
- If the radiotherapy doesnt work, which other treatments can I have?
- Who should I contact if I have any questions?
- What support is there to help manage long-term side effects?
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Managing Constipation Diarrhea And Other Bowel Problems
In some instances, normal bowel functioning and control will be regained after treatment and post-recovery. But if this process isnt occurring as fast as anticipated, or isnt happening at all, there are a few interventions and lifestyle changes that can help manage bowel problems. Several of these options include:
- Anti-diarrheal agents
- Avoiding foods that may irritate the digestive system
- Creating a bowel movement schedule and retraining your bowels
In rare instances, it may be possible to have surgery for bowel incontinence, including anal sphincteroplasty or anal sphincter repair, depending on the predicted underlying cause of the incontinence.1-3 Treating bowel-related difficulties can be tricky, and will largely depend on the exact symptoms you are experiencing.
Early And Late Effects Of Radiation Therapy
- Early side effects happen during or shortly after treatment. These side effects tend to be short-term, mild, and treatable. Theyre usually gone within a few weeks after treatment ends. The most common early side effects are fatigue and skin changes. Other early side effects usually are related to the area being treated, such as hair loss and mouth problems when radiation treatment is given to this area.
- Late side effects can take months or even years to develop. They can occur in any normal tissue in the body that has received radiation. The risk of late side effects depends on the area treated as well as the radiation dose that was used. Careful treatment planning can help avoid serious long-term side effects. Its always best to talk to your radiation oncologist about the risk of long-term side effects.
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Will Radiation Therapy Cause My Hair To Fall Out
Only people who get radiation to the scalp or the brain may have hair loss. Others won’t. If it does happen, itâs usually sudden and comes out in clumps. In most cases, your hair will grow back after therapy stops, but it may be thinner or have a different texture.
Some people choose to cut their hair short before treatment begins to make less weight on the hair shaft. If you lose hair on top of your head, be sure to wear a hat or a scarf to protect your scalp from the sun when you go outside. If you decide to buy a wig, ask the doctor to write a prescription for one and check to see if it’s covered by your insurance or is a tax-deductible expense.
Things To Avoid With Diarrhea
- High insoluble-fiber foods, including fresh fruit with the skin or peel , raw vegetables , whole grain bread and cereals, beans, peas, and popcorn. Insoluble fiber worsens diarrhea.
- High-fat and greasy foods, including pizza, fried meats, bacon, french fries, mayonnaise, cheese, rich desserts, cakes, cupcakes, donuts, cookies, pastries, potato chips, gravy, and butter.
- Cow’s milk, because some treatments cause temporary lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance causes diarrhea. Typically, lactose intolerance that develops during cancer treatment this will improve when you have finished treatment .
- Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, soda, or large amounts of black or green tea. Caffeine can worsen diarrhea.
- Strong spices and herbs, especially “spicy hot” flavorings, such as cayenne pepper, hot sauce, salsa, and Tabasco sauce.
- Very hot and very cold foods. Temperature extremes can worsen diarrhea.
- Sugar-free food, gum, and candy, which contain sugar alcohols such as sorbitol. Sugar alcohols can worsen diarrhea.
- Tobacco and alcohol. These items worsen diarrhea.
How Can I Handle Fatigue
The fatigue you feel from cancer and radiation therapy is different from other times you may have felt tired. Itâs an exhaustion that doesnât get better with rest and can keep you from doing the things you normally do, like going to work or spending time with family and friends. It also can seem different from day to day, which makes it hard to plan around it. It can even change how well you’re able to follow your cancer treatment plan.
Let your doctor know if youâre struggling with fatigue. They might be able to help. There are also things you can do to feel better:
- Take care of your health. Be sure you’re taking your medications the way you’re supposed to. Get plenty of rest, be as active as you can, and eat the right foods.
- Work with a counselor or take a class at your cancer treatment center to learn ways to conserve energy, reduce stress, and keep yourself from focusing on the fatigue.
- Save your energy for the activities that are most important to you. Tackle them first when youâre feeling up to it.
- Keep a balance between rest and activities. Too much bed rest can make you more tired. But don’t over-schedule your days without giving yourself breaks.
- Ask for help from family and friends. If fatigue is interfering with your job, talk with your boss or HR department and ask about taking some time off from work or making adjustments in your schedule.
Frequent Urination Burning With Urination And Difficulty Urinating
These are the most common complaints. Occasionally the urinary stream will weaken. Generally these symptoms are managed with medications to help the bladder function better or eliminate burning. Rarely, your doctor may order a urine test. Symptoms will resolve after the end of treatment. Contact your doctor if you see blood in your urine or if you are unable to urinate.
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Urethral Stricture As A Side Effect Of Radiation For Prostate Cancer
After radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer with external beam radiation including proton beam therapy and/or radioactive seed implants, the most common location of a urethral stricture is the membranous urethra. This is the part of the urethra just under the prostate and the urethra in this area is surrounded by a muscle called the external urethral sphincter, which is one of the sources of continence. An illustration of the urethra showing the location of this part of the urethra is found here.
When patients are referred to the Center for Reconstructive Urology with blockage of urine flow after treatment for prostate cancer, they often are not clearly aware of their specific diagnosis with regard to the urethral stricture location and stricture length, even if they underwent prior treatment . If they only had a cystoscopy it is not possible to know the length of the stricture. If imaging was performed and that imaging did not include both a film during injection of contrast and during voiding , there cant be a definitive diagnosis.
We evaluate the urethra using both cystoscopy and high definition accurate urethral imaging to first determine the exact stricture length and location. This comes before a discussion of all options .
With the gentle injection of X-ray contrast to fill the bladder , we can then obtain a film during urination called a voiding cystourethrogram
Using Palliative Care To Ease Discomfort
For both urinary and bowel incontinence that is caused by compression of nerves in the spinal cord as a result of prostate cancer that has spread to the spine or bones, palliative treatments for metastasized cancer may be of use. These treatments include radiotherapy, medication, or surgical removal of spinal cord tumors. However, these treatment options are not indicated for every situation. Your doctor will help you determine what path is right for you and to improve your quality of life. As always, coping with quality of life symptoms like these can take a toll on an individual or their caretaker both mentally and physically. For this reason, it can be a good idea to consult a therapist or counselor if needed for extra support.
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Possible Side Effects Of Radiation Treatment For Prostate Cancer
The radiation used to destroy cancer cells can also hurt normal cells in the nearby area. Side effects from radiation treatment are related to the area of the body being treated. Patients start to have side effects a few weeks into their treatment. While side effects may be unpleasant, there are treatments to help deal with them. Most side effects are temporary and slowly start to go away once treatment is done.
You will be seen by your radiation oncology providers often during treatment. These visits are a chance to ask questions and to talk about any side effects and how to best manage them. You can also call your providers to speak about any side effects.
What Caregivers Can Do
- See that the patient drinks about 3 quarts of fluids each day.
- Ask the cancer care team how much or how long diarrhea should last before calling to report it.
- Keep a record of bowel movements to help decide when the cancer care team should be called.
- Ask before using any over-the-counter diarrhea medicine.
- Check the anal area for red, scaly, broken skin.
- Protect the bed and chairs from being soiled by putting pads with plastic backing under the patient.
- Encourage room temperature drinks. They might be better tolerated than cold or hot drinks
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How To Cope With Digestive Issues
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can both cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. There are several medications, however, that can prevent and alleviate these digestive concerns. Additionally, making certain dietary changes can help ensure that you get the nutrients you need when dealing with digestive issues.
Talking About Bowel Problems With Your Doctor
Bowel problems can be embarrassing and life changing. Because of this, its common for men to avoid talking about these struggles with their healthcare team or partners. By not talking about these issues, feelings of fear or inadequacy may build up and cause significant mental, emotional, or physical complications.
For this reason, it is critical to talk with your doctor about potential treatment options that may be right for you, or for specific tips on how to manage what is going on. How much you share about your bowel struggles is completely up to you, however, enlisting the support of an intimate partner, spouse, or close confidant may help ease the burden and set expectations or plans to be followed in the event that you need help managing your bowel struggles outside of your home.
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Management Of Bowel Dysfunction
Short of treating individual symptoms as needed, there are few, if any, treatment options for bowel dysfunction following radiation therapy. Laser therapy can stop rectal bleeding caused by radiation. Anti-diarrheal agents can help with loose bowel movements. Increasing fiber intake through whole grains, fruits and vegetables, or fiber supplements can also help.Avoiding foods that might irritate the gastrointestinal tract is important, but complete elimination of fibrous, bulky foods can lead to constipation and straining, which in turn can exacerbate rectal bleeding.
How Effective Is Modern Radiation Treatment Of Prostate Cancer
Radiation therapy can give more radiation dose directly to the prostate than to surrounding healthy tissues, given the improvements in technology and imaging techniques. Physicians use various imaging techniques to see the prostate and surrounding tissues in three dimensions, so that the radiation beams can be tailored more precisely to the individual patient’s unique needs. Physicians can estimate and minimize the dose of radiation that will be received near the rectum, small bowel, bladder and hips during the course of radiation treatment to reduce the risk of side effects and complications. The goal is to safely provide a higher dose of radiation than even five years ago, which helps to improve the chances of cure. For similar stage and prostate cancer types, radiation therapy is as effective as surgery but with a different treatment process and different side effects.
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Use Medications Your Healthcare Provider Has Prescribed
The most important thing you can do to control diarrhea during cancer treatment is to take medications as prescribed. As with many treatment side effects, prevention is more effective than cure. Once diarrhea is very severe, it can be more challenging to bring under control.
Severe diarrhea causes dehydration and loss of important electrolytes , including sodium and potassium. This can be a life-threatening situation, so do not ignore diarrhea. If your medical team prescribes medication to prevent diarrhea, do not wait until you have diarrhea to take it. For some cancer treatments, taking anti-diarrheal medications before the problem occurs is part of the plan.
What Are The Dangers Of Radiotherapy Prostate Cancer Treatment
Radiotherapy is considered effective for treatment of cancer with a success rate of above 90%. But is it safe for prostate cancer treatment? Does it cause any side effects? And if yes, are radiation therapy side effects reversible?
Well, radio frequency is pain-free and considered safe for prostate cancer treatment. To help you understand the safety of this procedure we shall look at both the short and long-term side effects resulting from this treatment.
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Not Sleeping Well Causes Fatigue
Some people with cancer are not able to get enough sleep. The following problems related to sleep may cause fatigue:
- Waking up during the night.
- Going to sleep at different times every night.
- Sleeping duringthe day and less at night.
- Being inactive during the day.
- The time of day that cancer treatment is given.
Poor sleep affects people in different ways. For example, the time of day that fatigue is worse may be different. Some people with cancer who have trouble sleeping may feel more fatigue in the morning. Others may have severe fatigue in both the morning and the evening. People with cancer who are inactive during the day, have restless sleep, or who have obesity may have higher levels of fatigue.
Even in people with cancer who have poor sleep, fixing sleep problems does not always improve fatigue. A lack of sleep may not be the cause of the fatigue. See the PDQ summary on Sleep Disorders for more information.
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Why Does Chemotherapy Cause Diarrhea
The powerful anticancer medicines you take can affect the healthy cells in your body, including the cells that line the inside of your intestines. Your intestines help your body to take in food, water, and other liquids. If your chemotherapy medicines affect the cells that line the inside of your intestines, they cannot take food and water into your body very well. The food and water stay in your intestines. This causes diarrhea.
Diarrhea usually happens in the first few days after your chemotherapy treatment. It may also happen one or two weeks after you get your chemotherapy treatment. If you have diarrhea, you should tell your doctor and health care team right away. If your diarrhea is untreated, you may become dehydrated . There are medicines that your doctor or health care team can give to you that will make your diarrhea better.