Radiotherapy side effects

Side effects of radiotherapy can be short or long term. Short term side effects such as tiredness will improve a few weeks after treatment. But long term effects can continue on for a lot longer and sometimes might be permanent. Your doctor will discuss this with you before you start treatment. 

It's important to remember that you only have side effects in the area you are having radiotherapy to. Your doctor, specialist nurse or radiographer will help you to manage any side effects you have. 

General radiotherapy side effects

Radiotherapy can cause a range of side effects, including tiredness and sore skin in the treatment area. Find out more about the general side effects of radiotherapy.

Brain radiotherapy side effects

Radiotherapy to the brain can cause side effects such as sickness and hair loss. Find out more about these side effects and how to cope.

Head and neck radiotherapy side effects

Read about the possible side effects of having radiotherapy to your head or neck and how to manage them.

Chest radiotherapy side effects

Information about the possible side effects of radiotherapy treatment to your chest area, including sickness, swallowing problems and breathing changes.

Abdominal or pelvic radiotherapy side effects

Find out about the possible side effects you might have during or after radiotherapy to the pelvic area or tummy (abdomen).

Long term side effects of radiotherapy

Radiotherapy has some long term side effects which may come on several months or years after you have finished your radiotherapy treatment.

Last reviewed: 
11 Jan 2024
Next review due: 
11 Jan 2027