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It’s important for you to talk with your doctor or nurse about the kinds of common side effects you might experience as you get treatment. Knowing this information ahead of time will help you understand more about your treatment and prepare you for the process.

Here are some common side effects to discuss with your physician: 

Radiation therapy

Two of the most common side effects are fatigue and skin irritation.

As your radiation therapy continues, you may feel more tired than usual. If you’re among those women, you should start feeling your energy levels improve two to three months after the radiation treatment is completed.

Your skin may become itchy, red, warm, dry and more sensitive. Usually, if you have skin irritations, they’ll worsen within the first two weeks after radiation is finished – but you will gradually begin to heal. There are skin treatments that can help minimize or relieve the skin symptoms. Discuss this with your radiation oncologist or your health care team.



The common side effects of chemotherapy vary from mild to severe and will depend on the type of chemo drugs you are taking. You may not experience certain side effects immediately after your first treatment. For example, hair loss usually happens within two-three weeks of your first cycle of chemotherapy and before the next cycle.

Chemotherapy drugs affect women differently. Not all of them make you sick and not all of them will make you lose your hair.

Infection is a major concern while on chemotherapy. If you have a fever of 38 C, chills or signs of an infection, you should go to an emergency room right away.

Possible side effects of chemotherapy include nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, diarrhea, hair loss,infection, low blood cell count, fever, fatigue or liver, kidney or heart problems.

There may also be effects to the skin, nails and nerve sensation. The side effects vary from person to person and the chemotherapy drugs given.

If you experience any side effects, take the treatment prescribed for that specific side effect. If you have no recommended treatment for your side effect, contact your oncologist or health care team. No one needs to suffer through this experience.


Hormone therapy

The side effects of hormone therapy vary from woman to woman. Depending on which hormone drug you’re taking, your side effects will also vary.

Discuss any side effects with your doctor or nurse to review possible options of controlling certain side effects. Common side effects of hormone therapy include muscle pain, bone pain, fractures, hot flashes, vaginal discharge, irregular menstrual periods (if you are still menstruating), weight gain and vaginal dryness.