The side effects of radiation therapy in the treatment of bladder cancer depends on the dosage and the area undergoing treatment. These complications tend to be worse when there is an administration of chemotherapy with radiation. They can include:
- Skin issues
- Vomiting and nausea
- Urinary symptoms like burning or pain when the patient urinates, feeling the need to go often, or blood in the urine
- Blood in stool and/or urine
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Low blood counts, which can lead to fatigue, easy bruising or bleeding, or increased risk of infection
These side effects go away over time after treatment, but there are some longer-term problems to account for as well. For instance:
- In some people radiation treatments lead to incontinence (problems holding urine) later on.
- Radiation can cause cystitis which is damage in the inner lining of the bladder. This can cause long-term problems such as blood in the urine or painful urination.
- Damage to the nerves and blood vessels in the surrounding area is likely, leading to fertility problems in men.
Consulting a healthcare team to neutralize the side effects of radiation is something patients must do to overcome them and regain their regular health.