side effects of radiation therapy for head and neck cancers

Apparently, radiation therapy is applied during the treatment of various types of cancers. This is because it aids in eliminating the cancerous cells found in the body of a cancer patient. During the treatment, radiation is concentrated on the affected area which may also fall on the adjacent cells. Due to this, some side effects including tooth decay which may lead to tooth loss can happen. However, a cosmetic dentist can easily mend it for you by providing you with different tooth replacement options. Consult your dentist for more information.

The side effects of radiation therapy vary depending on:

• Its area of application
• Type of cancer
• Radiation therapy dosage
• Patient’s general health

Usually, some patients experience acute side effects, others minimal while others experience none at all. These side effects mostly manifest during the 2nd or 3rd week of treatment and they may last for even weeks after the last treatment day.

The oral side effects of radiation therapy for head and neck cancers include:

• A dry mouth that results when the salivary glands get affected
• Mouth and gum sores induced by excess radiation on the oral noncancerous cells
Difficulty in swallowing due to the affected cells on the throat
• The stiffness of the jaw that results after damaging the cells that support the jaw
• Nausea that’s caused by the irritation of the alimentary canal
• Tooth decay due to the radiation rays that reaches the buccal cavity. Usually, the radiation goes to the extent of damaging the root cavity thus causing tooth decay.
• A Swelling on the lymph nodes that leads to a condition known as lymphedema

side effects of radiation therapy for head and neck cancers

Most of these side effects vanish when you finalize the treatment although a patient may develop long term side effect even after treatment. Despite that the chances are minimal, a second phase cancer on the affected area(s) may reappear. Therefore, before the radiation therapy is commenced, it’s crucial for a patient to inquire from a physician on the expected side effects. Also, during the treatment, a walk on the journey of cancer with a practitioner sharing all the side effects been experienced is advised.