Side Effects of Tomotherapy Treatments

Side Effects of TomoTherapy Treatments

As cancer is such an intense, complicated, and just overall difficult disease to cure, the treatment plans have also become very intense and complicated. Among the more advanced treatments is tomotherapy, which is one of the most advanced forms of radiation therapy as well as a revolutionary way to treat cancer.

One of the major cons of typical radiation treatments is the risks of damaging the surrounding tissues. However, by combining very accurate 3-D imaging from CT scanning, or computerizing tomography (hence the name) with precisely targeted radiation beams, tomotherapy minimizes the damage done to the surrounding tissue.

Now, just because one of the major roots of the risks is minimized, it does not mean that there are no side effects from tomotherapy. Regardless of how much fewer side effects are involved, understanding what the side effects are before undergoing any procedure is a necessity, especially for a treatment as intense as radiation. So, here are the most common side effects of tomotherapy.

Side Effects:

Since less radiation reaches the healthy tissues and organs, there are certainly fewer side effects with tomotherapy radiation treatments than there are with other radiation treatments. But, it’s important to be aware of the possible side effects of radiation so you can report them to your doctor if necessary as soon as possible.

·       Early Signs of Radiation – Again, despite the increased precision of the radiation beams in tomotherapy, it is still possible to suffer from the effects of radiation reaching healthy areas in your body, so here are the signals:

o   Skin irritation and skin rashes,

o   Loss of appetite and difficulties with eating and digesting,

o   Changes in your urinary and bladder systems,

o   Dry mouth, eyes, and throat,

o   Difficulty eating and swallowing,

o   And headaches, nausea, and vomiting

Other Side Effects

Here are some other side effects on may also experience while undergoing tomotherapy:

o   Soreness, pain, and sometimes numbness in and around the treated area,

o   Diarrhea and issues associated with the bladder,

o   Hair loss in and around the treated area,

o   Light sensitivity If the treated area is in and around the face, such as the neck,

o   And general exhaustion, tiredness, and fatigue.

At the end of the day, the side effects depend on many individual factors such as your specific medical condition, your general health, other treatments you may receive during the same time frame, and how many tomotherapy sessions you undergo. So, each individual patient with have slightly different risks and side effects depending on their particular circumstances.

Additionally, it is important to remember that you will be under the direct supervision and guidance of a doctor, or team of doctors, that are there to help you through the process. You will most likely meet with them at least once per week to assess your progress while undergoing a certain treatment, so don’t be scared to take that opportunity to let the doctor know about any possible side effects that you are concerned about. Battling cancer is a very tough experience, and understanding what’s going on might help a little with the stress, which can make a huge difference – so, don’t be hesitant when it comes to asking for help! 

By Russell McBurnie