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Radiation therapy is the most commonly performed treatment for head and neck cancers. Precision is key. Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) and newer Tomotherapy treatments deliver a precisely-focused beam of computer-guided radiation that greatly reduces damage to healthy nearby tissues. Older style radiation treatments are broader, but are still effective in containing cancers that have spread or metastasized. The patient will usually feel significant weakness and sickness for several weeks afterward, but radiotherapy can be very effective in stopping this kind of cancer. For more information about radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, or to schedule an appointment, call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form.

Radiation therapy for head and neck cancer is often recommended when cancer has only occured in a few sites in the brain. This type of treatment will have varying side effects, depending on the location of the radiation. In most cases, serious side effects may occur after 1 to 2 years of radiation treatment for head and neck cancer. It's important to talk with your radiation oncologist about your treatment plan. Sometimes, the entire brain may be treated with radiation therapy if the cancer has spread to many areas. 

Possible side effects of radiation therapy for head and neck cancer may include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • Hearing loss
  • Skin and scalp changes
  • Trouble with memory and speech
  • Seizures

Radiation therapy to treat head and neck cancer may cause the brain to swell, resulting in some of the side effects listed above. To treat this swelling, medications may be given. It's important to let your physician know about any side effects you are experiencing (including headaches). The death of brain tissue from whole brain radiation can lead to delayed side effects such as memory loss, stroke-like symptoms, and poor brain function. 

Request an Appointment

For more information about radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, or to schedule an appointment, call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form.

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