Patients with mesothelioma face a poor prognosis, a one-year survival rate is approximately 40 percent, while a five-year survival rate is currently about 10 percent. Treatment with radiation therapy may lengthen survival and decrease the symptoms of the disease. However, there are also side effects that can occur due to the treatment. Acute side effects refer to skin redness, esophagitis, fatigue, and nausea while long-term side effects include radiation pneumonitis, cardiac damage, radiation myelitis, and liver radiation damage.
“Side effects of external radiation therapy can include fatigue and sunburn-like skin problems and hair loss where the radiation enters the body. These usually go away once treatment is finished. Chest radiation therapy can damage the lungs over time and lead to trouble breathing and shortness of breath. Abdominal radiation therapy may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite,” state the American Cancer Society. In the case of radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy, the side effects tend to be worse.
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