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Common Side Effects after Radiation Therapy for Oral Cancer

Radiation affects normal cells as well as cancer cells. You may have side effects from it. They depend on how much radiation you get and where you get it. Here are side effects that people with oral cancer may have after getting radiation:

  • Dry mouth

  • Red and sore mouth

  • Trouble swallowing

  • Damaged taste buds

  • Tiredness

  • Skin irritation in the area that was treated

  • Teeth erosion or cavities, which can occur from having a dry mouth. That’s why lifelong use of fluoride treatments prescribed by your dentist is recommended.

  • Damage to the jaw bone called osteoradionecrosis. This is a rare, but serious complication of radiation. Your risk for this damage is higher if you have bad teeth left in place when getting radiation. That’s why it’s very important to see a dentist before starting radiation.

Many of these side effects will go away a few weeks after treatments end.

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