The short-term side effects of radiotherapy are usually minimal and can be managed with medications and creams. When you receive radiation therapy for breast cancer, you can expect to develop pinkness or redness of the skin in the treatment zone, some mild swelling of the breast and a feeling of mild generalised fatigue. These effects resolve within one to two months of treatment.
Long-term side effects of radiation therapy are uncommon, but they may occur months or even years after treatment. If they do occur, these side effects can be minimised or controlled, so it’s important you have ongoing follow ups with a doctor or radiation oncologist. There is a rare risk of developing a second cancer as a result of radiation therapy. If this does occur, it's usually many years after completion of treatment.
If you have any concerns about radiotherapy side effects have a chat with your radiation oncologist who can give you likely side effects tailored to your specific therapy.