You are using an outdated browser. We suggest you update your browser for a better experience. Click here for update.
Close this notification.
Skip to main content Skip to search

COVID-19: Get the latest updates or take a self-assessment.

Symptoms & Side Effects of Radiation

General side effects of radiation treatment can happen when radiation is given to any area of the body, but they depend on a number of things, including the specific area or organs being treated, the size of the area being treated and the type of radiation treatment being administered.

What Are the Common Side Effects of Radiation?

Common acute side effects include fatigue, skin reactions and changes in appetite. Patients receiving chemotherapy and radiation at the same time often suffer from side effects such as neutropenia (low white blood cell count), fevers or infections. Nausea, dehydration and vomiting can also occur in some cases.

For head and neck cancers (such as cancer of the oropharynx), common side effects from radiation treatment are dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) and weight loss.

Symptom & Side Effect Management

We offer ways for you to document, track, recognize and reduce your symptoms and side effects.

Symptom Assessment Tools

This set of tools, called Your Symptoms Matter, help healthcare providers monitor and manage your symptoms more effectively. You can fill out Your Symptoms Matter questionnaires at regional cancer centres and partner hospitals across Ontario.


Symptom Management Guides and Cancer Drug Side Effect Sheets

The symptom management guides and cancer drug side effect sheets are for patients and their families. They outline steps to prevent and reduce symptoms and side effects from cancer or treatments, including chemotherapy.

Even with all these resources available, we want to remind patients that it’s still important to discuss your symptoms with your healthcare team.