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We have more information about managing tiredness. Radiotherapy to the head can cause hair loss in the treatment area. It is normal to have ups and downs, and there may be times when you do not feel you are making progress. But there are often things that can be done to treat and manage them. Find out more about late effects of head and neck cancer treatment and how they can be treated and managed. We have more information about the effects on hearing and what might help. Complications are new medical problems that occur during or after a disease, procedure, or treatment and that make recovery harder. This can develop months or years after treatment. Radiation therapy has side effects because it not only kills or slows the growth of cancer cells, it can also affect nearby healthy cells. This usually gets better within a few weeks. Most side effects generally go away within a few weeks to 2 months of finishing treatment. Surgery may affect nearby nerves and cause a change in sensation or numbness in that area. Many people who get radiation therapy experience fatigue. An occupational therapist can help with ongoing tiredness (fatigue). A lymphoedema specialist can help manage fluid build-up in the tissues (lymphoedema). Your doctor can refer you for treatment for this. Radiotherapy to the head and neck can cause problems with your mouth or teeth, such as a sore or dry mouth, tooth decay or thrush. The following side effects 1. If long-term side effects occur, they typically develop within two to three years of treatment. Changes to your lips, teeth, tongue, mouth, nose or throat can affect your speech or the sounds you make for speech (voice). Radiation therapy to the head and neck can damage blood vessels, causing bone in the lower jaw to die. How much hair loss depends on the size of the area being treated and the dose of radiotherapy. These are the side effects I have endured. Swelling of the face or neck (lymphoedema), What's going on near you? These symptoms are subtle and may occur very late; therefore, it is important for patients who have received radiation therapy to be tested on a regular basis. They often get better within a year of finishing treatment. It is important to have people around who can support you. Radiotherapy to the head and neck can cause temporary side effects, such as a sore mouth or throat and difficulty swallowing. Changes in memory or concentration are usually mild. ORN affects around 5–7% of people who have radiation therapy to the head and neck. Your salivary glands may gradually recover after treatment finishes, but your saliva may be thicker and sticky. Available from:  https://www.bahno.org.uk/_userfiles/pages/files/ukheadandcancerguidelines2016.pdf (accessed September 2018). Survivors of Hodgkin ly… Sometimes pain or discomfort lasts for several months or more. How are Head and Neck Cancers Treated? Most people find that this gradually improves, but occasionally it can last for months or even longer. Yay!! If you have numbness or a change in sensation in a part of your head or neck, take extra care to protect it. They may go away eventually on their own. Radiation therapy works by damaging DNA in cells. Isle of Man company number 4694F. The thyroid gland is in the front of the neck and makes hormones. Radiotherapy or chemoradiation to the head or neck can affect your salivary glands. You are at greater risk of developing long-term swelling if: The swelling happens because the lymphatic system, which normally drains fluid away, is not working properly. The two most commonly used terms are: Long-term effects begin during, or shortly after, treatment and do not go away in the 6 months after treatment. The physical and emotional effects of cancer and its treatment may affect your sexual confidence or ability to have sex. Side effects can happen any time during, immediately after or a few days or weeks after radiation therapy. Changes to your face, mouth and neck can change how you feel about kissing and having sex. Our Online Community is a good place to do this. Find out about ways to manage these side effects. If the nerve was cut, changes in that area will be permanent. This is called peripheral neuropathy. You might have difficulty swallowing during radiotherapy to your head or neck and for several weeks afterwards. Feeling tired and lethargic is one of the symptoms of an underactive thyroid. Head and neck cancer includes cancer from the throat up. This can cause problems with speaking, swallowing of breathing. Head And Neck Radiation For information about getting enough nutrition before during and after radiation therapy to the head and neck watch the video nu… If possible, take someone with you to your hospital appointments. Late side effects of radiation therapy may be permanent. This will cause an eruption of teeth in an abnormal alignment (teeth may be crooked). This may be for a few weeks or it may be long-term. This will cause an eruption of teeth in an abnormal alignment (teeth may be crooked). If possible, work with a nutritionist to select healthy food and dri… This usually goes away within a few weeks. But for some people, they last longer or may be permanent. Radiotherapy to the head and neck often causes a sore mouth. The side effects of radiation therapy depend on the area of the body that receives radiation. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2015; 33, 29 Available from: https://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/jco.2015.61.3836  (accessed September 2018). If you shave, be careful around skin that is numb. Late effects of radiation and surgery will affect only the area of the body exposed to them. Here are 5 side effects … It is important to get to know how your neck feels after surgery for a head and neck cancer. 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