Radiation side effects often start during the second or third week of treatment depending on the prescribed dose and schedule. (See External Beam Radiation Therapy .) Most side effects go away within a few months of ending treatment. Some side effects may continue after treatment ends because it takes time for the healthy cells to recover from radiation. In the meantime, there are ways to reduce the discomfort they may cause. If you have bad side effects, the doctor may stop your treatments for a while, change the schedule, or change the type of treatment you’re getting. Tell your cancer care team about any side affects you notice so they can help you with them.
Side effects can happen any time during, immediately after or a few days or weeks after radiation therapy. Most side effects generally go away within 2 months of finishing treatment. However, some side effects may continue after treatment is over because it takes time for healthy cells to recover from the effects of radiation therapy. Late side effects can occur months or years after treatment. If doses of radiation are high enough, some cells may not be able to repair themselves. As a result, some side effects may last a long time or be permanent.