How radiation therapy may affect your daily routine

Cancer treatment often requires patients to make changes to their daily routines or lifestyle habits. But just how much do you need to change? Below are my answers to some questions my patients ask about how radiation therapy will impact their lives during treatment. Can I work during treatment? Many patients are able to work during their radiation treatment. Sometimes patients work during the first few weeks of treatment but need to take time off near the end due to side effects. It usually depends on the site of the body being treated, the type of radiation, the dose of radiation and if chemotherapy is also being administered. Ask your doctor how your cancer treatment will impact your daily life, including work.  Can I have sex while undergoing radiation therapy?  Yes, in many cases. It depends on the location of the radiation treatment and your general overall health. Cancer and cancer treatment can affect your self-image, emotional state, physical abilities and sexual interest.  Keep in mind that you must use some type of birth control during radiation if you’re of childbearing age. Generally, we avoid treating patients with radiation therapy during pregnancy because the radiation may post risks to the baby depending on the dose and area of the body we’re treating. Can I drink alcohol while receiving radiation therapy? In general, we recommend you limit alcohol intake during cancer treatment of any kind before, during and after cancer treatment. If you’re undergoing radiation to your head, neck, throat, esophagus or stomach, we ask that you abstain from alcohol since it can cause irritation and be physically uncomfortable.   If...