Radiation therapy is not typically painful. However, some patients may experience post-radiation pain as a side effect.
The side effects from radiation treatment varies from person to person and with the type and location of cancer, the treatment dose, and the person’s health. Side effects associated with radiation therapy occur because the high doses of radiation used to destroy cancer cells can also damage healthy cells and tissues located near the treatment area. However, major improvements in radiation technology have made it more precise, leading to fewer side effects.
Post-radiation pain may develop after radiation therapy and go away on its own. It can also develop months or years after treatment, especially after radiation therapy to the chest, breast, or spinal cord. A few patients need help managing post-radiation pain. Unless directed by your doctor, do not use heat or cold to relieve pain in any area treated with radiation.