Oral Cancer Radiation Therapy Side Effects
Learn More About This Topic: Chat with Us | Email Us
Side Effects of Radiation Therapy for Oral Cancer
At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), we plan for and manage the side effects of oral cancer treatment. If radiation therapy is right for you, your doctor will explain any potential radiation side effects before you begin treatment – and will provide ways to help minimize or heal any potential problems.
Short-term side effects of oral cancer radiation therapy may include:
- Skin changes – a sunburn or suntan that slowly fades
- Hoarseness of the voice
- Redness or soreness in the mouth and throat
- Open sores in the mouth that may make eating and drinking difficult during treatment
- Loss of taste, with full recovery after several weeks
Long-term radiation side effects may include:
- Damage to the salivary glands that leads to a dry mouth and the potential for tooth decay
- Osteoradionecrosis of the jaw, a condition that causes pain in the jaw and, more rarely, bone fracturing
- Loss of taste that may last for several months or be permanent
Many of the latest treatment techniques focus radiation more precisely on cancer cells, minimizing damage to healthy tissue and preventing many potential radiation therapy side effects. Medication to help minimize the damage of radiation to healthy tissues is also available.
If radiation therapy is the appropriate treatment for you, your doctor will work closely with you to explain all of the available options, including ways to minimize and treat any possible radiation therapy side effects. Your oncologist will work closely with your nutrition and naturopathic medicine teams to create a personalized plan to help you return to your normal, daily activities as quickly as possible.
In addition, your oncology rehabilitation team will provide comprehensive speech and language pathology therapies to remedy any side effects on vocal function. We work together to find solutions that meet your individual needs.
Next Topic: Surgical Oncology for Oral Cancer