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Side Effects and Complications from Radiation and Nursing Management

By and large as technology has improved, radiation is safer than before and in most patients side effects can be minimized and treated more effectively. Unfortunately any organ or tissue in the body can be damaged by radiation and it's important to realize there are risks associated with high dose therapeutic radiation.

Patients who receive radiation and live long enough have a slightly higher risk of getting another cancer (called a secondary cancer). In a recent review about 8% of the secondary cancers that developed were probably due to the previous radiation (go here, here and here.)

There are certain dose guidelines that are considered 'safe' (go here.)

A complete discussion of side effects and treatment like hyperbaric oxygen or Trental is noted here.

The most
commonly treated areas and associated risks and side effects are noted below, along with nursing instruction sheets.