Possible Side Effects

Side effects, if they do occur, are usually caused by damage to normal cells during the course of treatment. Side effects are cumulative, which means they can develop over several weeks as the radiation accumulates in the tumor. Side effects are usually temporary and should subside after treatment ends. However, ask your oncologist what you can expect from your specific treatment.

These are some common side effects of prostate cancer radiation therapy:

  • An occasional side effect reported from radiation is mild fatigue. This usually starts in the middle of treatment and may last a few weeks after treatment ends.
  • Urinary frequency and discomfort during urination are common side effects of both external and internal radiation.
  • Bowel irritation is another common side effect.
  • Impotence is a possible side effect of any treatment for prostate cancer.
  • Sterility
  • Rectal/Urethral Bleeding
  • External beam radiation may cause mild skin irritation. Your radiotherapy team can help you maintain your skin's health while you're in treatment.
  • Fracturing of the femoral head (the top of the thigh bone that inserts at the hip joint) is an infrequent side effect that must be treated surgically.