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  • Management of side effects image
  • Proton therapy itself is painless. Patients who are treated with proton therapy also experience fewer side effects than patients treated with conventional radiotherapy. However, patients may experience side effects such as hair loss, mouth changes, skin changes, throat changes, diarrhea, urinary and bladder changes, and nausea/vomiting.
    Throat changes
  • Radiation therapy to the neck or chest can cause the lining of your throat to become inflamed and sore. This is called esophagitis. You may feel as if you have a lump in your throat or burning in your chest or throat. You may also have trouble swallowing.
    Radiotherapy of the neck or chest can cause throat changes because it kills cancer cells and may damage healthy cells lining your throat. Your risk of throat changes depends on the radiation dose, whether you are also receiving chemotherapy, and whether you use tobacco and alcohol during treatment. You may notice throat changes within 2-3 weeks after starting radiotherapy. The symptoms usually start to improve within 4-6 weeks of completing the treatment.
    Ways to manage throat changes
  • Choose foods that are easy to swallow.
  • Cut, blend, or shred foods to make them easier to eat.
  • Eat moist, soft foods such as cooked cereals, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs.
  • Wet and soften food with gravy, sauce, broth, yogurt, or other liquids.
  • Eat foods that are cool or at room temperature.
  • Eat small meals and snacks.
  • Remain sitting or standing upright for at least 30 minutes after eating.
  • Sip drinks through a straw.
  • Do not consume foods/drinks that can burn or scrape your throat.
  • Talk to your doctor or nurse. Your doctor can prescribe drugs that may help relieve your symptoms, such as antacids, gels that coat your throat, and painkillers.
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