Radiation - pelvis - discharge
You had radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer. This article tells you how to care for yourself after treatment.
Your body undergoes many changes when you have radiation treatment for cancer.
You may have the following side effects about 2 to 3 weeks after your first radiation treatment:
Other effects that develop later may include:
The provider will draw colored markings on your skin when you have radiation treatment. These markings show where to aim the radiation and must stay in place until your treatments are finished. If the marks come off, tell your provider. Do not try to redraw them yourself.
To take care of the treatment area:
Drink plenty of liquids. Try to get 8 to 10 glasses of fluids a day. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and citrus juices such as orange or grapefruit juice if they make the bowel or bladder symptoms worse.
You can take over-the-counter diarrhea medicine to treat loose stools.
Your provider may place you on a low-residue diet that limits the amount of fiber you eat. You need to eat enough protein and calories to keep your weight up.
Some people who get prostate radiation treatment may begin to feel tired during the time you are having treatments. If you feel tired:
It is normal to have less interest in sex during and right after radiation treatments end. Your interest in sex is likely to come back after your treatment is over and your life starts to return to normal.
You should be able to enjoy sex safely after radiation treatment is over.
Problems with having an erection are often not seen right away. They may show up or be seen after a year or more.
Your provider may check your blood counts regularly, especially if the radiation treatment area on your body is large. At first, you will have PSA blood tests that will be checked every 3 to 6 months to check the success of the radiation treatment.
National Cancer Institute website. Prostate Cancer Treatment (PDQ) - patient version. www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/patient/prostate-treatment-pdq. Updated August 23, 2021. Accessed October 6, 2021.
Phillips R, Hazell S, Song DY. Radiation therapy for prostate cancer. In: Partin AW, Dmochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 157.
Zeman EM, Schreiber EC, Tepper JE. Basics of radiation therapy. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Kastan MB, Doroshow JH, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 27.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 7/26/2021
Reviewed By: Kelly L. Stratton, MD, FACS, Associate Professor, Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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