Dr. Song describes the possible radiation therapy side effects.
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Dr. Song on Possible Radiation Therapy Side Effects During the course of treatment for breast cancer with radiation, most women will experience just some slight swelling of the breast. Usually the women report it’s kind of similar to what they experience a week before they undergo their menstrual periods where the breast starts to be a little bit swollen, slightly tender with positional changes as such. Usually that’s relieved with Tylenol or some Ibuprofen. Towards the end of the treatment, some women might notice a little bit of increased redness of the skin, kind of like a sunburn or suntan. And some women develop a little bit of skin reaction, particularly in the armpit area, or what we call the inframammary fold, where the bra line sits. And that’s because you tend to have a little bit of moisture in there and the skin can be a little bit more sensitive. As far as fatigue, most of our women will tell you that they really don’t experience much fatigue during this course of treatment. Some women find themselves falling asleep a little bit earlier at night or needing to take a nap from time-to-time. But when you really dig deep into their history a lot of patients find that they are just not sleeping well, as well at night as what they used to prior to their diagnosis, whether it be a change in their medications, whether or not it be the emotional ups and downs of the diagnosis. But specifically to the radiation treatment itself should not cause a tremendous amount of fatigue.