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Radiation Therapy: Your Daily Life

Radiation therapy can help you in your fight against cancer. To feel better, get plenty of rest, exercise, and eat well. This will give your body the extra strength it needs right now. Also, look to family and friends for support and comfort.

Man and woman outside, walking dog.

Family and Friends

You will decide when you can talk openly about your cancer. Friends and family can be a great source of comfort. Or, you may find it more helpful talking to a counselor at first. People will be willing to help when they learn how you feel. Ask for help when you need it, and accept help when it’s offered.

Work

Many people work during radiation therapy. You may need to adjust your schedule. Try to reduce the number of hours you work. Work at home if you can.

Exercise

An exercise program may help you sleep better and control some side effects. Exercise when you have the most energy. Don’t push yourself. Instead of jogging, take a walk or ride a stationary bike.

Sex

Fatigue may affect your desire to have sex. Radiation therapy to the pelvis may affect the sexual organs. Talk to your partner and your radiation therapy team.

  • If you don’t feel like having sex, explore other ways to be close, such as hugging, cuddling, and talking.

  • Radiation therapy to the pelvis can cause permanent infertility. If you plan to have children in the future, talk to your doctor.

  • If you want to have sex, go ahead. A water-based lubricant may help. During radiation treatment, be sure to take steps to prevent pregnancy.

Will Treatment Make Me Radioactive?

  • External radiation therapy will not make you radioactive. You don’t have to worry about being physically close to friends or family members.

  • Internal radiation therapy means that radioactive material is put into your body. So you will have to take some precautions for a short time. Your therapy team will tell you what to do to keep others around you safe.

Online Medical Reviewer: Held-Warmkessel, Jeanne, MSN, RN, AOCN(R), ACNS-BC
Online Medical Reviewer: Usuki, Kenneth Y, MD
Last Review Date: 3/14/2012
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.