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Radiotherapy long-term side effects

Radiotherapy long-term side effects. These can occur even years after completion, can vary in nature, and are often limited to the treated area.

Long-term effects of radiotherapy include:

  • Lymphedema
  • Infertility
  • Oral cavity disorders
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Occurrence of a second tumor


One of the long-term effects of radiation therapy is lymphedema. Lymphedema is a buildup of fluid in the subcutaneous tissues, and the arms and legs are the most affected areas. This long-term effect of radiotherapy occurs especially in those individuals who have undergone surgery for removal of axillary or breast lumps. In some cases it resolves spontaneously, but in most cases it turns into a chronic problem. Lymphedema can be prevented through a rehabilitation course.


Another of the long-term effects of radiation therapy is infertility. Especially if the radiation therapy occurred in the pelvic area or on the reproductive organs. However, there are several ways to preserve fertility before starting treatments. For men, sperm can be banked and frozen for future use. In women, oocytes or ovarian tissue may be frozen.

Oral cavity disorders

Long-term effects of radiation therapy include oral cavity disorders and those related to swallowing, teeth and gums. The salivary glands, tongue, gums, and teeth are very sensitive to radiation from radiotherapy. To prevent this long-term side effect, it is essential to have proper oral hygiene. Rinse your mouth several times a day with a specific mouthwash such as Xerogel Mouthwash. Avoid smoking and alcoholic beverages completely.

Skin sensitivity

Radiotherapy long-term side effects: we then find skin sensitivity, which especially affects those who have undergone radiotherapy on the skin. In fact, over time, skin loses its natural elasticity and tends to become dehydrated. Avoiding sun exposure will be essential, along with the use of emollient and moisturizing creams such as Protective Dry Oil or Emollient Body Cream.

The occurrence of a second tumor

The last of the long-term effects of radiation therapy is the emergence of a new tumor. Radiation, in fact, is one of the possible causes of tumors; the appearance of a new tumor can occur up to 30 years after the first treatment. Completely changing one’s lifestyle is essential: smoking, alcohol and uncontrolled sun exposure are completely to be avoided; leading a healthy life, eating well, exercising and getting regular checkups can reduce the onset of a new disease.