Health A-Z

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Before you begin radiation therapy, you should take these steps:

  • Visit your dentist and have any major dental work done if your head or neck will receive radiation. Radiation therapy can affect your teeth.

  • Discuss family planning issues with your doctor, including the option of sperm banking, if you want to have children. Radiation to certain parts of the body can increase your risk of infertility or sterility. If you are a woman and you might be pregnant, tell your doctor.

  • Ask your doctor if any medications you take could cause problems during radiation therapy.

  • Consider reducing your work schedule or taking vacation time during treatments, if you work. Radiation therapy can make you tired.

You also might want to arrange for a friend or family member to drive you to therapy.

Because radiation can irritate skin in the treatment area, wear loose clothing that doesn't rub or bind.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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