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During & After Radiation Therapy

Once the treatment begins, increased surveillance is necessary. Monitoring throughout the duration of the therapy will be provided by your health care provider. This is important to evaluate the therapy, and determine the reaction of your body to the treatment. Depending on the results, your doctor can continue or discontinue the treatment, or change the dosage.  

In absence of contraindications, you will be scheduled to see your doctor about once a week throughout the treatment. It is important to keep all appointments with your doctor or radiotherapist.   

What happens during the consultation, especially the first one? 

During the first consultation, you will be informed of all the technical details of the radiotherapy and its potential side effects. You'll also be told the lifestyle to adopt: drink plenty of fluids, avoid prolonged sun exposure, avoid cigarette smoke, adopt a healthy lifestyle, etc. Your doctor will do a physical exam to assess your body. A psychological evaluation may also be performed to assess your state of mind.  

Even if the therapy seems to be successful, regular consultations will be recommended. The goal of other consultations is to: 

  • psychologically support you to help you cope with the cancer and therapy   
  • talk to you about a dietary plan to adopt during the therapy  
  • determine your body responds to the treatment - occurrence of side effects or complications   
  • monitor side effects, with the clinical symptoms, biological or radiological examinations 
  • Assess the clinical tolerance in general: weight gain, examination of your skin, presence of fatigue, etc. 

 

It is important to avoid prolonged sun exposure during radiation therapy and even years that follow it. The irradiation of any part of the body can cause skin reactions. Rays of sunlight tend to exacerbate these side effects and cause major skin disorders, including skin cancer. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to not expose the irradiated regions to the sun. It is not, however, forbidden to enjoy outdoor activities during radiation therapy; you simply must protect yourself from the sun:  

  • wear broad brimmed hat that covers your head, face, ears and neck;
  • at least 20 minutes before exposure to the sun, use sunscreen of good quality (SPF of at least 15) on your ears, your chin and your neck even when you wear a hat or long clothing; sunscreen helps protect you against the sun's rays by absorbing or blocking the UV rays (remember to ask your doctor if you can use sunscreen).  
  • Avoid outdoor activities between 11 am and 16 pm; sun's rays can be carcinogenic during this period.  
  • When you are outdoors during sunshine, find or create shady to stay; for example, you can stay under a tree or use an umbrella.  
  • Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs: pants, long-sleeved shirts/t-shirts, long skirts, etc.