Memorial Sloan-Kettering nurse practitioner Carol Ann Milazzo describes side effects commonly associated with radiation therapy to the chest. Radiation can cause patients to feel temporarily fatigued. Because radiation travels through the skin, it may cause the treated area to look and feel sunburned – a condition called radiation dermatitis. Other common side effects may include discomfort with swallowing, nausea, cough, and shortness of breath.
Patients may want to ask their doctors about how to manage these potential side effects during and immediately after radiation.