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Possible Side Effects Of Radiation Treatment For Prostate Cancer

Despite the precautions taken to give the radiotherapy as accurately as possible there will always be some side effects associated with radiotherapy to the prostate gland even with ?best treatment?. This is partly because to reach the prostate gland from the outside the X-rays have to pass through normal tissues (bladder, bowel, skin) and partly because an area around the prostate gland needs to be treated in case the prostate is in a slightly different position each day (e.g. because the bladder is filled to a different extent) and because it can treat any cancer cells which are trying to invade out of the prostate gland itself.


a. Tiredness and Fatigue ? most patients receiving radiotherapy will feel tired especially towards the end of treatment.

b. Skin reaction ? this is usually very mild with prostate cancer treatment and may be a slight pinking of the skin or sometimes a sore back passage

c. Diarrhoea ? the x-rays will have to pass through some of your bowel to reach the prostate gland and this can irritate the bowel and cause diarrhoea, it can usually be well controlled by medication

d. Cystitis ? a burning feeling when you pass water is due to irritation of the bladder by the X-rays on their way to the prostate gland

e. Piles ? these can often flare up during treatment

f. Loss of Hair ? you may lose some of your pubic hair where the x-rays pass through the skin but this normally grows back after treatment finishes, the hair on you head will not be affected

g. Impotence ? radiotherapy may make it difficult for you to have or maintain an erection


In a small number of patients permanent damage to bowel or bladder may occur and can sometimes require treatment. In some men the impotence fails to recover.

While there are forms of alternative prostate cancer treatment, the above are considered to be the proven techniques and procedures.

Adrian Jones writes on several forms of cancer. Further information is available on his website dealing with prostate cancer treatments. You may reprint this if you include this author?s credit.

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Posted: 12:04, 18/12/2007

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